Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry….and Dartmouth?

Pharoah Sanders on tenor as depicted by SF artist Ian Johnson, courtesy of that badmutha, not to be confused with Turkish jazz man Muffucka Fillet

Pharoah Sanders on tenor as depicted by SF artist Ian Johnson, courtesy of that badmutha, not to be confused with Turkish jazz man Muffucka Fillet

and prologue talk about karma I did reach Chris Cortez just now or an hour after posting the first draft of this in the booth of KCSM and he agreed that my Pharaoh take is pretty esoteric and funky like a tweeter to think “Don Cherry” when I hear “Pharaoh Sanders” but he also felt me and even spit a bar on tune about Bob Marley and “War” and Selassie and all that, and I vowed in a Jan. 2 kind of way to bring some Native Elements free and for the people to the 650 and our blessed parks here, and he will try to spin some like this

and I also have to check a before o or o before a
like Noah or not like Noah (Naoh?)
write about Naoh!(right about now!)

Or, The Creator Has a Master Plan*
KCSM morning guy, not Cortez, maybe a Brit, Berman? Burman? says that Pharaoh Sanders is here for 3 nights at the new (to me, to me it is still hypothetical or mythical) SFJazz Palace, on Fillmore, near Civic Center and what flashes to mind, because I am a jazz mutant, is Don Cherry. And, worse, Don Cherry at Dartmouth.

Does Pharaoh Sanders want to talk about Don Cherry. Or Dartmouth?

Would he have 20 minutes? If he is here for three nights, that’s like 72 hours, could he squeeze me in for 20 minutes?

Is it better or worse to tell him I want to ask him about Don Cherry? What about his, Pharoah’s new record? Or his 57 records (reminder to self: check that figure)?

Flash to Charlie Haden on Charlie Rose last night, speaking of mythical or hypothetical or mediated rather than real. Ok, remind me, where did Charlie and Pharaoh overlap, in same or different projects from Charlie and Don. (I know that the guy who invited Don Cherry to Dartmouth, who shall remain nameless here, claims he met Don while a studio guest of Charlie Haden liberation orchestra, circa 1970 or 1969).

It’s either in the liner notes to the breakthrough album for Blue Note, or in the personal statement Don Cherry used to qualify for his Dartmouth teaching gig that Pharaoh “Little Rock” was in his circle. And if I took for granted the name of the capital of Arkansas (which for instance produced our 42nd POTUS, another sax-man, a lesser one, name of Clinton, Bill not George), thinking of Sanders in his youth, well,yes, hell yes, you can think of something super-sold, like rock, like that molten comic book character.

Does he play Arkansas?

Mr. Sanders (“Call me Pharaoh”), do you still play Arkansas?

My main question: how important is it to understanding Don Cherry is it to know that he once taught at Dartmouth? Or, how, even from a relative outsider’s perspective, what does it say about Dartmouth that it once hosted Don Cherry?

Are the worlds of jazz and the worlds of Dartmouth mutually exclusive? What are their overlapping values?

When I heard about “Don Cherry at Dartmouth” it gave me pause: I knew a fair amount about Dartmouth, I knew a fair amount, this was 2004, about jazz: I didn’t know there was an overlap.

(I ended up doing 50 hours of research or more, enough for 100,000 words but Dartmouth Alumni Magazine ran about 1,200 words, and re-wrote my lead; that the jocks called the class “Pots And Pans” became the story not the side-comment. Ah, compromise).

And yeah, having the blog with 500,000 words but no readers does not qualify me for a medal. Or, if I am the last to remember Pharaoh as “Little Rock” or Don at Dartmouth, I better pipe up, mighten I?

Truth be told, it would be my 2004 research into 1970 that would tell me, or Don’s former students told me, that Symphony for Improvisers featured Don Cherry, Pharaoh Sanders et al. And I bought a cd version of the Blue Note release and then more recently a collectors item LP. (fact of which has me wanting to re-route to my space to check the record, literally and figuratively: where does Don call him “Little Rock”?)

Here is a link to the Don Cherry cd, which protocol prohibits me from putting in foreground here.

And does Ian M. Johnson the SF painter of jazz greats have a Pharaoh Sanders work?

*21 songs or 9 hours ago, 1:32 a.m. this morning, as Terry and I were waking up to turn off the post-Charlie Rose visitation with pre-Charlie Haden, Greg Thomas of KCSM spun something of this title from Pharaoh Sanders and Leon something. Greg Bridge and Leon Thomas, I mean. Karma is the album.

Sanders is an important figure in the development of free jazz; Albert Ayler famously said: “Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I am the Holy Ghost

this is a coda:
Just for reference, I am not sure I could get an A identifying the last 6 leaders spun on KSCM: Michael Blake, Tom Lllelis, Jonathan Kreisberg, J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, Allen Smith. I was just trying to get through to Chris Cortez to wish Tom and Kay (his in-laws) a “Happy” and to request some Pharaoh, I also almost called Arkansas 503 to ask the guy at the supply store if he was familiar with a famous jazz guy from there — Sanders Supply of Hot Springs — and also our Mayor elect Karen Holman I think is from Arkansas before Missouri.

But mostly people I admit if they are into Pharaoh think of him as the leader and not as a collaborator, or as a collaborator with Coltranes John and Alice, and then McCoy Tyner before Don Cherry. (And research shows that there is “Where is Brooklyn?” as well or before Symphony for Improvisors).

And this also, if you excuse the digression — and it this jazz-like? — I am thinking of Ethan Iverson of Bad Plus and Do the Math his blog arguing, losing-ly but charmingly that The New York Times had it wrong when it eulogized a certain piano player in a certain way and he felt the solo work stood on its own. I cannot quite pull the names out of the aether without doing the math. Cyrus Chestnut? I am embarrassing myself. But the fact is that we do have an abundance of members of the jazz tribe the pantheon and it is hard to keep them straight. No chaser. (I’m gonna leave my error, as egregious as it is, the only thing that connects Cyrus and the real guy is that Cedar is also a tree; Ethan Iverson lamented, plausibly that William Yardley of The Times a fine reporter, from a good Carolina family — Greensboro — who I knew on the mean hard courts of Escondido Village, when he was pre-pubescent, but scrappy — but I don’t think is a jazz guy lauded the legacy of Cedar Walton by saying he cut his teeth with Art Blakey; Ethan: …The NY Times obit by William Yardley fumbled the ball a bit. I, at least, don’t think of Art Blakey first when I think of Cedar Walton! I think of Cedar Walton when I think of Cedar Walton. Also, Cedar rehearsed with Coltrane a little bit and made a single hard-to-find record with Josh Redman, but surely other names deserve mention before Trane or Josh. The three most obvious are Sam Jones, Clifford Jordan, and George Coleman…

The Times obits are usually very good. I’m complaining only because the Times really is the most important daily record of New York culture. Cedar lead marvelous trios and quartets in town for the last 40 years that were required listening for any fan or student. Who gave more to New York culture than Cedar Walton?

I am saying just as it is weird to think of Art Blakey when you eulogize Cedar Walton it is probably weird to think Don Cherry when someone mentions Pharoah Sanders, ok, I cop to that, or “I flash to that” as the Dartmouthians who were also Don Cherrytes would say, back in the day. Meanwhile I continue my digression…

And also: I am working, hopefully doing the math, to prep for the Palo Alto History Association panel on jazz, Sunday, Jan. 25, or three weeks from Sunday. I will re-mount my 20,000 shaggy dog piece as 6,000 words solid. Jazz history starts here in 1968 when Danny Scher, 15, hires Monk to play at Paly, weeks after MLK falls, and ends, in my subjective view, in 2011 on a Tuesday when City Council refuses to bring jazz and Mammon to the same table to bring The Varsity back online as a music venue. Rendering approximately 70 years before as “pre-history” and everything since, these four or five years, as “post-history”, give or take a few dinner jazz gigs, or Dan Adams and Terigal Burns and them on Father’s Day in the street. Read my lisp! It is sort of like the movie version of Enrico Banducci clobbering Chris Walz with a fake Keane, I admit, with a close enough for me Cal Tjader in the background digetic or non-digetic.

So yeah I am fixing to ask to drive an hour, drop $50 for a hit and get twenty minutes of immortal’s time to ask about 1966 or 1968 or such. Here in the 2015.

Amazon lists 71 titles under “Pharoah Sanders” and I will check my a’s and o’s.

It looks like there are four shows next week at SFJazz.

So if I go, with or without working up the nerve to request an interview, and I admit a lot of that is wondering what will happen — which is sort of like what Bill Murray was saying as a mantra on Charlie Rose aired two nights ago but we viewed in our personal sense of time just a mere 12 yours ago — and my thing with Randall Kline — my first visit to SFJazz palace – -and notwithstanding what I posted earlier about V. Vale recommends Werner Herzog, Cornell West and or Patti Smith or Jello Biafra — and time and money is even more scarce these days — and there is also – and hey, I am doing them a small favor or semi-solid but not quite Little Rock — to link to them here is a link to an upcoming “gala” with Joni Mitchell, and for $100,000 you too are “legendary” and it includes some type of lap dance or private seating.

later: somewhere in my Don Cherry research, which crosses with Farrell “Pharoah” Sanders via Okey Temiz is a Turkish trumpeter named Muffy or Maffy Fallay and someone supposedly telling him he would get over in America just for the name, Muvaffak,
no idea if Pharoah plays with Muffy, or that is jumping the shark to go there, but seems like turnabout is fair play.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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