Almanac Music: ‘Promises’ – Floating Points, Pharaoh Sanders, and The London Symphony Orchestra




I was introduced to the music of avant-garde jazz musician Pharoah Sanders during my first visit to New Orleans in 2013. I was warned it may not be my ‘cup of tea’ but I was absolutely blown away by his performance of the free-form, ambient, improvised jazz he played. Often this type of music as played by Sanders is known as free ‘skonk’ incorporating overblowing, harmonic and multi phonic techniques. Sometimes his music involves more deeply felt spiritual jazz interventions min his playing. Whatever way you look at his music, he is acknowledged as one of the great jazz players in his field.




Around five years ago, British electronic musician Sam Shepherd, who performs under the name of Floating Points, commenced a collaboration with Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra to produce the album Promises influenced by Julie Mehretu’s 2003 painting Congress.



Congress by Julie Mehretu. The painting that inspired the music.


This one track, nine-movement album embodies all aspects of the three musical disciplines and is a musical delight of the highest order, and as one reviewer stated, ‘ this extraordinary collaboration deserves excellent speakers and a soft couch to catch the swooning listener’.


Settle down and delight in listening to this superb album – and turn the speakers up loud!




Listen to the complete album above.


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. What a great name, Pharaoh Sanders!
    Will definitely check it out, Col.

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