Hum allah

Hum allah DEFAULT

Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

3xLP set with triple gatefold, extensive liners & pics inside.


John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Pt 1 - Acknowledgement
Elvin Jones - Fantazm
Max Roach - Lonesome Lover
Yusef Lateef - Sister Mamie

Freddie Hubbard - The 7th Day
McCoy Tyner - Three Flowers

Elvin Jones - Half and Half
McCoy Tyner - Groove Waltz
Archie Shepp - Le Matin des Noire

Michael White - The Blessing Song
Alice Coltrane - Turiya And Ramakrishna
Phil Woods - A Taste of Honey

Pharoah Sanders - Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah
John Klemmer - Constant Throb Pt 1

Pharoah Sanders - Thembi
Marion Brown - Maimoun
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda

Includes unlimited streaming of Spiritual Jazz 12: Impulse! via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. ... more

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These are songs that I like: “Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah”


Various Artists - "Spiritual Jazz 5- The World"Jazzman Records just released the fifth volume in their Spiritual Jazz series, this one entitled Spiritual Jazz 5: The World.  I’ve mentioned this series previously, both on this site and Wondering Sound, but for my new readers, the deal with it is this:  Jazzman Records digs through the old crates of vinyl looking for the under-the-radar and forgotten gems of music… pretty similar to what I do with new jazz releases (though Jazzman doesn’t limit their searches to just Jazz).  They dig those sonic gems up, they get them legally licensed, tracking down the artists and copyright holders, and they reissue the music under their own label, either as an album or, as in the case of their Spiritual Jazz series, in the form of compilations.

John Coltrane is the immediate reference for spiritual jazz, and his brilliant 1965 recording A Love Supreme.  This particular jazz subset had qualities of spiritual philosophy, of African music approaches and instrumentation, and an inclination toward freer expressions and avant-garde idealism.  Over the years, others have expressed their own forms of spiritual jazz through their own specific religion and ethnicity’s folk musics and instruments.  The first four volumes of the Jazzman Records Spiritual Jazz series focused on music that sourced from Africa, the United States and Europe.  Volume number five has them expanding their reach to everywhere else.  One particular album track is from the Chilean quintet Aquila, performing the Pharoah Sanders composition “Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah.”

Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders was one of my early favorites when I first started making Jazz a full-time preoccupation.  Due to his close association with John Coltrane and the heavily avant-garde label Impulse Records, it was easy to happen upon Sanders’ music.  I liked how his music was free and untamed yet possessed an unmistakable lyricism.  I liked how he shifted from passages of wild ferocity to those of melodic introspection and then back again.  It appealed to me much in the same way as the music of Sonic Youth… that washing machine hypnotism of chaos-peace-chaos-peace.  I liked his use of African instruments and how the folk music of Africa blended with a post-hard bop sound.  And I really liked how his furious music seemed focused on a message of peace and openness.

Pharoah Sanders - "Jewels of Thought"His 1969 release Karma was my first Sanders recording, and it represents all those qualities I mention just above.  Not long after, I picked up his 1969 recording Jewels of Thought.  Comprised of two long tracks, the opening notes of track one, “Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah” grabbed me right away, and now, twenty years after I first heard those opening notes, the song still sends chills up my spine and joy bursting from my heart.  So many things I love about this song:

  • The opening with the gentle crash of shakers and percussion, and Lonnie Liston Smith adding a dovish intro on piano for Sanders to join on tenor sax with his typical mix of lyricism and hint of fire… a delicate presence that intimates an inherent combustibility.
  • The voice of Leon Thomas a thing of resonance, his beautiful message of peace commingling with cries of saxophone… a powerful sense of honesty in everything being communicated in words and notes.
  • The way mbira pokes its head up every now and then, adding more rhythmic texture to an album swimming in it.
  • The way in which Sanders builds up the intensity yet maintains a delicate touch, and how he steps aside for Smith’s piano solo.
  • That amazing Smith piano solo and how it goes from a contemplative intensity to a harmonic glittering sea of diamonds and then into a catchy little groove, and all the while the drums and percussion of Roy Haynes and Idris Muhammad explode like fireworks in the background.
  • And that is a powerful element on this recording.  Haynes, Muhammad and bassist Cecil McBee surge up like waves, never subsuming the song but evincing a raw power that is awesome to hear in the context of solos and melody.  The way in which their seemingly unrelated rhythms suddenly come together with a formidable unity.
  • The crash of cymbals and then Sanders stepping up for a ferocious solo that seems like it’s never going to end, sounding like an honest cry for peace.  And then the way it suddenly drops back off to a return to that peaceful swaying motion, and how it trails off plaintively with a lovely curl of melody.
  • The way Sanders ends his solo by handing off the baton to Thomas, but for a time running side by side, sax and voice, and how that winds down to a peaceful conclusion.
  • And all the other stuff I didn’t mention.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

Your song personnel: Pharoah Sanders (tenor sax, reeds, kalimba, percussion), Cecil McBee (bass, percussion), Roy Haynes (drums), Idris Muhammad (drums, percussion), Leon Thomas (vocals, percussion), Lonnie Liston Smith (piano, kalimba, percussion),

(Jewels of Thought released on Impulse Records, 1969)


So, I was pretty thrilled when I discovered that there was a rendition of this song on the new Spiritual Jazz compilation.

As far as I can tell, as an ensemble, Aquila only recorded this one album, self-titled on Alba Records.  They use the title “Um Allah” on the track listing, which may either be a typo or perhaps the band recognizing the source material while respecting their own take on it.  I think it’s pretty damn cool.  They get a nice little groove going and then let the enthusiasm spring up from it.

There’s not much else out there in the way of other renditions of the song.  There was the Toni Esposito fusion-y version (a little bit Latin, a little bit Afrobeat) from the 1978 release La Banda Del Sole (Phillips Records), but other than that, nobody else seems to have covered it.  Well, two exceptions: a band called Emanative seems to have an unreleased version floating around out there, but after several failed attempts to find it on-line to give it a listen, I stopped wasting my time, and, also, there’s the pop music version by Eugene Chadbourne & Camper van Beethoven, which is so exceedingly bad that it’s insulting (real gutsy move not even using the word “Allah” in the song, assholes).

But none of that really matters, because we still have the Pharoah Sanders original and now we also have this enjoyable rendition by Aquila

Your song personnel:  Guillermo Rifo (vibes), William Miño (electric bass), Sergio Meli (drums), Sandro Salvati (alto sax), and Guillermo Olivares (keyboards).

There’s more information on Aquila on the Listen Recovery Crew site.


Spiritual Jazz 5: The World:

Available at:  Bandcamp | eMusic | Amazon CD/MP3/Vinyl

Pharoah Sanders Jewels of Thought:

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon CD/MP3/Vinyl


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By davesumner •These are songs that I like •

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Jewels of Thought

1969 studio album by Pharoah Sanders

Jewels of Thought is an album by the American jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. It was recorded at Plaza Sound Studios in New York City on October 20, 1969, and was released on Impulse! Records in the same year. The 1998 reissue merged "Sun In Aquarius" into one 27-minute-long track.


In a review for AllMusic, Thom Jurek wrote: "Jewels of Thought sees Sanders moving out from his signature tenor for the first time and delving deeply into reed flutes and bass clarinet. The plethora of percussion instruments utilized by everyone is, as expected, part of the mix..." Regarding "Sun in Aquarius", Jurek commented: "It's more like a finished exorcism... but it is one of the most astonishing pieces by Sanders ever."[1]

Regarding "Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah", Daniel Martin-McCormick, in a review for Pitchfork, commented: "By allowing soulful prettiness alongside more vicious passages, Sanders opens the album up, connecting the dots between joyful communion and unflinching catharsis. A squalling solo toward the end of the side sounds like a cry from the deepest, most tortured part of his soul, but it's supported by an unerringly mellow piano accompaniment... It's a moment of deep vulnerability in a genre can often devolve into macho blowing contests." Martin-McCormick stated that "Sun in Aquarius" "yawns out like a terrifying chasm before letting Lonnie Liston Smith's piano boil over for the better part of five minutes. Sanders is in devastating form, screaming through his tenor. Even after a mid-side comedown and a breathtaking bass duet from Cecil McBee and Richard Davis, he leaps back in undeterred, firing out one of his heaviest solos like a machine gun."[2]

A review at Soundohm states: "The compositional minimalism of Jewels of Thought is a major thread through Sanders albums of this period, setting up a sparse canvas for colorful tenor saxophone meditations. In one instance Sanders' playing may be soft, beckoning and glad, while elsewhere his saxophone becomes a crazed, outraged beast unleashing its fury on the world. Regardless of which way these compositions lead, listeners are made to feel more like sonic travelers than mere consumers."[4]

Writing for Treblezine, Jeff Terich remarked: "Jewels of Thought... heightens the juxtaposition of Sanders' more mellifluous compositions against his most radical. Its first side, 'Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah,' begins with a plea for peace and a vocal delivery from Leon Thomas that's nearly as far-out as Sanders' saxophone is on its flipside. Yet ultimately this composition—a soulful call for understanding and love—is among Sanders' most hypnotic grooves, a breathtaking 15 minutes driven largely by Lonnie Liston Smith's stunning piano. The two-part 'Sun In Aquarius,' by comparison, is a furious exploration of dissonance and abrasion. Its first movement is darkly atmospheric, driven by Smith's menacing stabs of piano, a far cry from his glorious chords from 'Hum-Allah.' Yet the second half undergoes a thrilling transformation from free-jazz screech back to soul-jazz transcendence and eventually some strange hybrid of the two. It's not Sanders' most immediate composition, though as one of his most challenging it warrants revisiting and reexamining."[5]

In a review for Aquarium Drunkard, M. Garner wrote: "Smith's playing is bright, easy, lyrical, and, perhaps most importantly given the level of questing going on around it, familiar. On... 'Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah,' he gives Sanders a spruced-up base from which to launch, but Sanders seems just as happy to follow his pianist. The two play around one another cheerfully, each occasionally departing to take a solo trip through the sky before returning to the ground. Around them, the song develops with the same natural grace. Even as Sanders trills and Roy Haynes and Idris Muhammad count out counter-rhythms, a feeling of mutual wonder permeates the playing."[6]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah" (P. Sanders, L. Smith, Jr., Amosis Leontopolis Thomas) – 15:04
  2. "Sun In Aquarius (Part I)" (P. Sanders, L. Smith, Jr.) – 8:22
  3. "Sun In Aquarius (Part II)" (P. Sanders, L. Smith, Jr.) - 19:56


  • Pharoah Sanders – tenor saxophone, contrabass clarinet, reed flute, kalimba, orchestra chimes, percussion
  • Leon Thomas – vocals, percussion
  • Lonnie Liston Smith – piano, African flute, kalimba, percussion
  • Cecil McBee – bass, percussion
  • Richard Davis – bass, percussion (on #2-3 only)
  • Idris Muhammad – drums, percussion
  • Roy Haynes – drums (on #1 only)


  1. ^ abJurek, Thom. "Pharoah Sanders: Jewels of Thought". AllMusic. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  2. ^ abMartin-McCormick, Daniel (November 10, 2017). "Pharoah Sanders: Jewels of Thought". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  3. ^Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 1258. ISBN .
  4. ^"Pharoah Sanders: Jewels of Thought". Soundohm. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  5. ^Terich, Jeff (November 15, 2017). "Pharoah Sanders: Tauhid / Jewels of Thought / Deaf Dumb Blind". Treblezine. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  6. ^Garner, M. (November 9, 2017). "Pharoah Sanders: Tauhid / Jewels of Thought / Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmun Umyun)". Aquarium Drunkard. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
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