Truly, this is a work of art. Nominated for the Mercury Prize, but somehow defeated by Arlo Parks. Nothing against Arlo, but…how? The genesis of this incredible body of work occurred six years ago, when jazz giant Sanders was sitting in his car. Held up in traffic, his mind wandered to the track playing on the radio. It was Elaenia, by Floating Points. Entranced, Sanders vowed to track this young man down and work with him. And he did. And we should all be grateful.
Sanders, of course, is hard bop royalty. He performed with John Coltrane on another one of the year’s top releases, A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle. Now 81 years old, but just as agile and innovative on the tenor sax as ever, Sanders floats on top of Sam Shepherd’s hypnotic, recurring seven-note phrase.
Promises is, of course, one continuous piece of music in nine movements. Minimalist and measured, it transfixes the listener throughout. It is stillness personified, music to wrap around you and comfort you on these dark, cold nights. It is close to beautiful perfection.