Regardless of the confluence of events that led to this dream pairing, there’s a strong hint of clear-minded innovation to Promises. The debut collaboration LP from electronic musician Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points and legendary saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, backed to a lavish fullness by The London Symphony Orchestra, feels like the murmurs of an entirely new language for jazz, quite distinct from either participant’s prior output — in fact, it seems to illuminate a hidden lexicon we didn’t know either artist had in the first place.
We say jazz, but Promises truly defies categorisation with its moody atmosphere and indeterminate music-like patience. The nine movements of the LP gently cradle a circular note pattern in the way of a minimalist classical piece, as a flood of synth and string drones gradually fill the empty spaces in-between. As this deep meditation progresses, Sanders recalls his adventurous past work with the Coltranes by undergoing his own inner journey, his sax flitting between conversational licks, esoteric mouth sounds and white-hot fury, bobbing against the rising tide of electronics, organs and orchestra swells.