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Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra
Luaka Bop
Catalogue Number
Release Date
March 26, 2021

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Regardless of the confluence of events that led to this dream pairing, there’s a strong hint of clear-minded innovation to Promises. The debut collaboration LP from electronic musician Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points and legendary saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, backed to a lavish fullness by The London Symphony Orchestra, feels like the murmurs of an entirely new language for jazz, quite distinct from either participant’s prior output — in fact, it seems to illuminate a hidden lexicon we didn’t know either artist had in the first place.

We say jazz, but Promises truly defies categorisation with its moody atmosphere and indeterminate music-like patience. The nine movements of the LP gently cradle a circular note pattern in the way of a minimalist classical piece, as a flood of synth and string drones gradually fill the empty spaces in-between. As this deep meditation progresses, Sanders recalls his adventurous past work with the Coltranes by undergoing his own inner journey, his sax flitting between conversational licks, esoteric mouth sounds and white-hot fury, bobbing against the rising tide of electronics, organs and orchestra swells.

Sam Shepherd (Floating Points): Pharoah...

Pharoah Sanders: Huh...?

Sam: Were you asleep? I'm sorry...

Pharoah: No no... I was listening... and dreaming... and listening to music in my head...

Sam: Oh wow... sorry.

Pharoah: Many times, people think I might be asleep... but in fact, I am just listening to music in my head. I'm always listening... to the sounds around me... and playing, in my mind... and sometimes I dream.

Sam: What were you dreaming about?

Pharoah: I'm on a ship. In the ocean. Bears coming around smoking cigars. The bears are singing, ‘We have the music. We have what you're looking for.’ I say, ‘Really?’ And I was making fish dinners. Shark..Lobster. Got all kinds of fish. And you know, a good pie. Pumpkin pie. You like pumpkin pie?

Pharoah: How you like that take, Sam?

Sam: It's cool. I think the bit in the middle, where it stops again...I think you can hear...We were both kind of confused. I like it as well because it sounds like two musicians that are trying to guide each other.

Pharoah: I think that's it right there. It came out different. It came out good though.

Sam: You happy?

Pharoah: Yeah, I'm cool with it.

Sam: Okay. Yeah, I think you're playing is beautiful.

Digital Track List

  1. 1 Movement 1 6:24 Buy

    Movement 1

  2. 2 Movement 2 2:31 Buy

    Movement 2

  3. 3 Movement 3 2:32 Buy

    Movement 3

  4. 4 Movement 4 2:31 Buy

    Movement 4

  5. 5 Movement 5 4:25 Buy

    Movement 5

  6. 6 Movement 6 8:50 Buy

    Movement 6

  7. 7 Movement 7 9:28 Buy

    Movement 7

  8. 8 Movement 8 7:22 Buy

    Movement 8

  9. 9 Movement 9 2:09 Buy

    Movement 9

  • Promises

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