Sunday, September 16, 2007

This is a Lot of Concerts... Day 7: The Pharoah

As soon as my Tibetan class ended on Friday, September 7, I raced to the bus stop with my Grado headphones glued to my ears, blaring "The Creator has a Master Plan" by the legendary Pharoah Sanders, a man I intended to see in a mere matter of hours. The catch? Sanders was playing in Boston and I had to be back in Atlanta the next morning.

Three trains, two buses, one plane, and a confused security guard later, I found myself in Boston's south station without the faintest clue how to find Sculler's Jazz Club. I was now faced with my greatest challenge yet: understanding a Bostonian accent to get directions. Fortunately, Boston's transportation system is easily navigable so only a minimum of communication was needed to get me to Scullers in plenty of time.

With a packed house waiting and his band setting up, the 66-year-old saxophonist made his way to the stage. The room immediately hushed at his presence and Sanders wasted no time tearing into the first piece, his tenor still as distinctive and powerful as it was forty years ago. Sanders and his quartet played an astonishing set, peppered with standards like "My Favorite Things" and epic freakouts alike. All four musicians turned in some nice solos, particularly drummer Joe Farnsworth, but the highlights were all Sanders', most notably with some excellent echo work and spry dancing.

Just when it appeared that the set would wind down without Sanders' seminal "Creator," that distinctive opening solo appeared out of nowhere. The very first notes of the song put smiles on the faces of everyone in the room and by the time the main melody kicked in, the elation was palpable. Sanders ended the song with a beautifully lyrical solo and made his way out of the room, leaving everyone in the audience happier than they entered.

Nothing could dampen my mood, not even the fact that I didn't have a place to sleep. In fact, the memories of Pharoah Sanders made my night sleeping in Boston Commons downright cozy, while the 24-hour Chinese restaurant full of pink-haired cross-dressers felt as comfortable as home. A few more trains and planes and I was back right here at Decatur CD preparing for The National's concert that evening...


At 1:30 PM, Blogger Dayla said...

Glad you made it. Info on Scullers shows can be found at

Take care,


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