Pharaoh Sanders - 'Izipho Zam (My Gifts)'  Strata-East (SES 19733, 1973)

The second studio album recorded by iconic jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, Izipho Zam lays the groundwork for a career-defining musical vision that would carry Sanders forward on an unparalleled sonic trajectory.

Comprised of just three tracks, wrought out into extended exploratory jams, Izipho Zam pulls the listener to the outer limits of free jazz before throwing them back into a familiar riff or driving groove, signalling that Sanders remains very much in control of his musical ship as it slips into psychedelic cacophony. In many ways, Izipho Zam captures the raw spirit of Sanders’ playing, which can be contrasted against the spaced-out collaborations that he would come to be known for. Set loose against a backdrop of hypnotic West African percussion and distorted guitar, Sanders’ roaring saxophone rises to spiritual climaxes as long improvisational passages depart from familiar themes and take off into uncharted territory.

Recorded in 1969 (although not released until 1973) Izipho Zam captures the essence of a musical movement that provided a rare arena for Black freedom in the context of the struggle for African American civil rights, a sound that feels as invigorating and pertinent as it did when it was recorded.



Graded using the Goldmine Standard. Graded conservatively.


Cover: G
Media: VG