Release Date: 03 Dec 2021
"End of the year" colour vinyl edition with die-cut gatefold sleeve
You can't help thinking that everyone involved in this project was very, very pleased. For Sam Shepherd - graduate of Chethams School of Music - and a modern day dance music luminary, to play with one of the old school jazz greats, and perhaps the greatest saxophonists still alive, Pharoah Sanders must have surely caused untold sleepless nights of excitement. For Pharoah Sanders equally - to be brought back into service by a current musical stalwart, inflecting his timeless musical utterances onto a whole new generation of listeners, from jazz camps and beyond - another late honour for a lifetime of servitude to jazz.
Let's not forget London Symphony Orchestra either; who must have literally guffawed with astonishment when they were drafted in for the occasion - two musicians at the very top of their game spanning over 50 years of heritage is a badge of honour no-one can ever take away from you.
And so it is that you can almost feel the privilege and magic of the occasion within the first couple of languid, laid back, drumless tracks. Sanders' sax recorded close to the mouth so as to capture every last breath of personality as he meanders over a rather neo-spiritual-jazz soundbed crafted by Floating Points dazzling array of synths and keys. A proud owner of the Arp Oddessy 2600, he utilizes the instrument with his own virtuistic method; just as all the players approach their own personal instruments.
After spending much of side A in a celestial, horizontal slumber it's clear by side B's autumnal opening movement that the pace isn't going to increase in a hurry. Taking us through highly intimate orchestral passages and back to Sanders' expressive sax, Floating Points plays a supportive and directive role; guiding these musical dreams and spiritual jazz musings through subtle cues and atmospheric changes.
It's an ambitious project that could have failed miserably; cursed by over-excitable or worse still, conflicting egos. Instead there's an air of compassion, delicacy and sympathy to each and everyone involved - resulting in a completely uncluttered and rather quite outstanding body of music which does none of the artists involved a disservice - rather lifts their careers into new and pioneering realms.