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Pharoah Sanders/Hamid Drake/Adam Rudolph: Spirits

Pharoah Sanders once wore his spirituality on his dashiki sleeve, posing for Impulse! album covers as if on the cusp of enlightenment, awash in dramatic studio lighting. The music was what you would expect from a man with an inside track to the Creator-overblown, hubris-riddled mush. When otherwise discerning listeners say they have a soft spot for albums like Karma, believe them-it’s very soft.

Photographed for Spirits’ fold-out, Sanders is caught off script, securing his white brimless cap. The eyes that once shot fire now have a compelling humility. The cap may not signify a hadj, but the eyes confirm a long journey back from trading on his association with John Coltrane and his Bill Laswell-produced makeover for Verve. Sanders looks like a man who wants to set things right.

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