Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold

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Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold
Live album by Sun Ra
Released 1976
Recorded June 15, 1964
Genre Jazz, avant-garde jazz, free jazz
Label Saturn
ESP Disk (extended reissue)
Sun Ra chronology
Live at Montreux
Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold

Featuring Pharoah Sanders and Black Harold is a jazz album by Sun Ra, recorded live in 1964, but not released until 1976, on Ra and Alton Abraham's El Saturn label.

The record documents the earliest known recorded performance of "The Shadow World" (here reverse-named as "The World Shadow"), a complex structured piece which was to feature on several of Ra's better known records of subsequent years, notably The Magic City.

It is an unusual item in the Ra discography, because tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders replaces John Gilmore, a mainstay of the Arkestra for most of its existence; at the time, he was working in other contexts, with the pianists Paul Bley and Andrew Hill, and drummer Art Blakey.[1] Before releasing the recording, Sun Ra said "It should be very interesting to the world to show what the pre-Coltrane Pharoah Sanders was like" [2]

Also featured is the obscure flautist, Black Harold (Harold Murray),[3] who takes a solo, vocalising through his flute, Rashaan Roland Kirk-style, on 'The Voice of Pan' (continuing into 'Dawn over Israel.')

Despite being Sanders' only recording with Sun Ra, he is not a major presence, taking only one solo on the first track. Ra himself plays several short piano solos and introductions. Alan Silva also has a brief bass solo, and alto saxophonist Marshall Allen provides his customary fireworks. The music is mostly in the experimental, free-jazz mould, and though not quite as radical and challenging as 'The Magic City', it is mostly dense and uncompromising (though that is not to say there is no variety - there are plenty of quiet interludes as well).

Critical views[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[4]

Sean Westergaard's review on allmusic.com similarly describes it as "more of a curio than a great listening experinece, and probably best left for the Ra and Pharoah Sanders completists." [5]

Additionally it is an extremely rare album, and also very short in length (no more than 25 minutes).

The album was reissued by ESP Disk in 2009, adding 5 stereo live tracks to the 6 original mono tracks.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Gods on a Safari" (Ra)
  2. "The World Shadow (incl. Rocket Number 9)" (Ra)
  3. "The Voice of Pan" (Ra)
  4. "Dawn over Israel (incl. Space Mates)" (Ra)

Personnel and Recording details[edit]

Catalogue Number: Saturn IHNY 165. Recorded live at the Cellar Cafe, New York 15/6/64, by Paul Haines (just before the 'October revolution in jazz', which took place at the Cellar Cafe in October of that year, and in which both Haines and Sun Ra were involved). Date and location details supplied by Ahmed Abdullah in an interview on WKCR (1965 and 1968 are often incorrectly mentioned in discographies).

The ESP Disk reissue (ESP 4054) gives the recording date as December 31, 1964 at Judson Hall, New York.

The album is set to be reissued via the Superior Viaduct label on November 11, 2017 with one additional track.


  1. ^ allmusic ((( Featuring Pharoah Sanders and Black Harold > Overview )))
  2. ^ Cited in Wilmer, Val (1977). As serious as your life: The story of the new jazz. Quartet books. p. 89. ISBN 0-7043-3164-0. 
  3. ^ Szwed, John F. (1998). Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra. Da Capo Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-306-80855-5. 
  4. ^ Allmusic review
  5. ^ allmusic ((( Featuring Pharoah Sanders and Black Harold > Overview )))

External links[edit]