Anthony Pasquarosa with John Moloney, ‘My Pharaoh, My King’

Posted by on August 15, 2017


Feeding Tube Records, 3.24.17

My wife and I spent most of November 9th last year laying around in a daze, pondering what we ought to do for our young son, and listening to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. Around mid-day, a friend texted to commiserate — he was doing essentially the same thing, to the same record. A Love Supreme is a good soundtrack for when life drops a thousand-pound turd on your house, and you have to clean it up.

Besides being a salve, higher-consciousness sounds (and jazz in particular) are a concrete tool to create change and halt the forces of old and evil. Richard Nixon famously had an aide shut down a 1972 performance by Love Cry Want in Washington DC’s Lafayette Square for fear that the group would “levitate the White House.” WFMU DJ Scott McDowell recently suggested that Cecil Taylor’s string of concerts in Berlin in 1988 helped loosen the bricks of the Berlin Wall. As the Jazz Messengers once wrote in an open letter to the next generation of artists, “We ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace. While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you.”

Pharaoh Sanders is another universe-healer. His album Karma, his mind-blowing turns with Sonny Sharrock, Alice Coltrane, and on John Coltrane’s Meditations are not understood, but felt. This essence fills guitarist Anthony Pasquarosa and drummer John Moloney’s duo debut release, My Pharaoh, My King, a tribute album more spiritual than traditional. Pasquarosa (aka Crystalline Roses) was unknown to me until hearing this record, but a tour through previous releases makes it seem like his playing assumes any form he wants, from hardcore to stuff drawn from ‘80s electro punk and ‘60s psych. He’s also an accomplished painter and visual artist, on display in the totally boss cover artwork. Moloney has an extensive rap sheet as head buster for Sunburned Hand of the Man, Chelsea Light Moving, and other Paul Flaherty associated outfits.

On this album, the guys provide pared-down acoustic duo magick, which brings to mind Jackie O Motherfucker. Pasquorosa has a strong Eastern tilt and here his playing reminds me of a very “loose” Sandy Bull. Moloney is understated and great, filling the sound with a deft percussive touch that helps navigate the astral travel. I’ve primarily heard Moloney play in heavy-pound/tribal-thump style in Sunburned and CLM, so it’s cool to hear him swaddled in jazzbo cloth here. Four compositions waft across the span of My Pharoah, My King, almost entirely guitar and drums with the occasional flute beamed in from Pharaoh’s “The Creator Has a Master Plan.” The album ends with a beautiful detuned piece that sounds a little like if Sonic Youth recorded for Sublime Frequencies — Sonic Truths? Thurston Mahirishi?

It’s a good ‘un, and a righteous transport for peace.