I just got an e-mail from Phil Sentner, maniacal jazz fan and sleepless consumer, from the depths of Lyndonville, VT. Phil writes, "By the way, I heard the new Kenny Garrett disc last night and Pharoah sounds like the old Pharoah, not playing that New Age shit Laswell was producing." This is good news to me--though I have to admit to liking some of the New Age shit Bill Laswell was responsible for--since I'm assuming Phil has in mind the excitement Pharoah Sanders generated when playing with such greats as Coltrane and guitarist Sonny Sharrock (Check out Sander's Tauhid and/or Sharrock's Ask the Ages.)
Since I hate to form false preconceptions, I try to avoid listening to an artist's new CD before the performance. Sometimes the live music can be quite different than the studio product, or the artist may head out in a new direction on the moment. George Thomas's report that the fusion of the new Chick Corea and Bela Fleck CD sounds more like classical music (rather than rock) with jazz really surprises me (and makes me think I may have to see the damn thing). But one thing for sure is that you can never be sure what you'll hear, that there's always room for the unpredictable in jazz. Unless, that is, you're at Lincoln Center.
By the way, does anyone know who the sidemen will be for this gig?