brimming with innovation, positivity and a pervasive sense of wonder, 'thembi' may become your favourite sanders album. these tracks represent a landmark confluence of many elements: avant-garde chaos, static harmony and a cultural revaluation of west african instrumentation, to name a few. omnipresent, of course, is the unmistakable tempest of pharoah blowing his tenor out to sea. it's 1971, and this is a simultaneous celebration of the past and future of jazz set to the jingling bells of a sunday afternoon be-in. 'thembi' floats to a start with the ethereal fender rhodes musing of 'astral traveling', courtesy of lonnie liston smith. though sanders has described the melody as an impromptu thread for the changes, his plaintive long tones are as charged as ever with wisdom. in the lower register is cecil mcbee, laying down the groove with entrancing vamp lines. the title track seems like an afterthought to the classic 'the creator', replacing the traditional 'head, solo, head' structure with something more closely resembling 'mantra, solo, mantra'. like much of sanders' other work, these recordings are simple in form, yet vast in content.