Review: Although "Africa" is not one of the harder Pharoah Sanders albums to find on vinyl, jazz heads have long complained about the sound quality of the original single-vinyl edition of the 1987 album. It's for this reason that this Tidal Waves Music reissue, which stretches the set across two slabs of wax and adds two previously CD-only tracks ("Heart To Heart" and "Duo"), will simply fly off the shelves. That and the fact that it remains a superb album: a bright, breezy, contemporary jazz masterpiece that sees the legendary saxophonist accompanied by drummer Idris Muhammad, pianist John Hicks and bassist Curtis Lundy. Highlights include the arguably definitive version of Sanders' classic "You've Got To Have Freedom" and a superb update of John Coltrane standard "Naima".
Review: Saxophonist and flautist Harold Alexander recorded and released his debut album, Sunshine Man, way back in 1971. Now considered something of a must-have for fans of both jazz-funk and fusion, it was recorded with the assistance of some notable musicians including legendary drummer Bernard Purdie and prolific session bassist Richard Davis. There's no doubt, though, that Alexander was the clear star of the show. As this essential reissue proves, his saxophone and flute playing was on-point throughout, arguably reaching its' peak on the incessant and epic title track (which, incidentally, also includes some sublime keys-work). Other highlights include the restless hustle of "Mama Soul", where Alexander's urgent flute solos are accompanied by note-for-note scat vocals, and the relaxed fusion flutter of "Anguilla".