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The Tisziji Muñoz Quartet with Bernie Senensky on piano, Ra-kalam Bob Moses on drums, and Don Pate on bass, featuring the incomparable Pharoah Sanders on saxophone. Tisziji toured with Pharoah in the mid-1970’s but this 1998 concert was their first live recording with Tisziji’s quartet.

“For me, this was a miraculous and transcendent date. A demonstration of musical and spiritual companionship brought to the public in majestic prayer form. A profound testament of Heart practice brought to a creative and spiritual jazz audience.” -Tisziji Muñoz

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CD 1

  1. My Favorite Things
    (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein – Williamson Music) 18:11
  2. Body & Soul
    (Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton, Johnny Green – Druropetal Music, Quartet Music, WB Music, Range Road Music) 16:28
  3. Purification By Fire #2
    (Tisziji Muñoz, Anami Music – BMI) 12:40

CD 2

  1. Dindi/Lonnie’s Lament/Dindi
    (Antonio Carlos Jobim, John Coltrane – Ipanema Music, Jowcol Music) 29:45
  2. Final Words
    (Tisziji Muñoz, Anami Music – BMI) 6:49
  3. Visiting This Planet
    (Tisziji Muñoz, Anami Music – BMI) 17:00
  4. The Creator Has A Master Plan
    (Ferrell Pharoah Sanders, Leon Thomas – Pharoah Sanders Music, Amos Leon Thomas Amosis) 5:52

Tisziji Muñoz: Guitar
Pharoah Sanders: Saxophone
Bernie Senensky: Piano
Don Pate: Bass
Bob Moses (Ra-kalam): Drums

Producer: Tisziji Muñoz
Executive and Co-Producer: Nancy Muñoz
Recorded 10 April 1998 at The Van Dyck Jazz Club in Schenectady
Recording & Mixing Engineer: Mike Muñoz, Anami Music Inc.
Editing & Mixing Engineer: David J. Sullivan, Anami Music Inc.
Mastering Engineer: Chris Andersen at Nevessa Productions


Downtown Music Gallery

March 14, 2014 by Bruce Gallanter

“Featuring Tisziji Muñoz on guitar, Pharoah Sanders on tenor sax, Bernie Senensky on piano, Don Yaka Pate on bass and Bob Ra-Kalam Moses on drums. Are those goose-bumps erupting on your arms and the back of your necks?!? (They are on mine!) Finally, we have a contender for the “cosmic” release of the year! Pharaoh and Tisziji: a Match Made in the Heavenly Cosmos! Whoa!

” ‘Mountain Peaks’ is a stunning live, two disc, two set release, recorded in Schenectady, NY where Mr. Muñoz used to live. It captures Mr. Muñoz’s fabulous quartet with their special guest, the legendary Pharoah Sanders, at their best, soaring together to those ‘Mountain Peaks.’

“There are only seven songs played here, four standards and four originals by Muñoz or Sanders. Commencing with “My Favorite Things,” perhaps John Coltrane’s most popular cover, taken at calm yet hypnotic pace. Tisziji, Pharoah and pianist Senensky all take long, slow-burning, dream-like solos with some amazing interplay between all three, notes spiraling around one another like a school of fish swimming in a stream. One of the oldest and most often played standards is “Body and Soul,” made popular by Coleman Hawkins and played by hundreds of saxists (and many other instruments) worldwide. The version here features a long, lovely, warm-toned solo from Mr. Sanders which is a stunning gem! Mr. Senensky, Mr. Pate and Mr. Muñoz all take sublime, elegant solos, keeping the flow going righteously. When Muñoz plays his original songs, this is when the fireworks really take it out.

“The group ends the first set with “Purification by Fire #2,” which is almost too much. The opening solo by Tisziji erupts from the first note with both Tisziji and Pharoah unleashing those sheets of sounds that John Coltrane invented nearly fifty years ago. What is even more astonishing is the playing and support of Muñoz’s longtime rhythm team: Senensky on piano, Pate on contrabass and Ra-Kalam Moses on drums. The colossal power of the entire band is phenomenal with Pharoah letting out a few (vocal) screams to show the exhilaration going on. Toronto-based pianist, Bernie Senensky, is another under-recognized secret weapon, often playing those streams on the piano in a similar way to McCoy Tyner, a member of John Coltrane’s legendary quartet, which Pharoah often sat in with. The second set kicks off with a half hour version of two standards in a medley: Jobim’s “Dindi” into Coltrane’s “Lonnie Lament” back into “Dindi” again. “Dindi” is an old Brazilian song which was popular in the early 1960’s. Muñoz has a special way of playing these old chestnuts with his own bittersweet tone. Mr. Sanders’ splendid, graceful tone and playing also add some magic atop this superb medley. Once more the band ascends together, reaching higher and higher into the stratosphere. The piano trio by itself gets a chance to stretch out here and again do a marvelous, most cerebral job. It is again lift-off time on the last two Muñoz originals, “Final Words” and “Visiting This Planet,” which was also one of the highlights of the second set with Medeski a few weeks back. “Visiting This Planet” is a most appropriate title since it does take one directly to the stars or other planets along the way. Although everyone here solos with power and passion, it is those solos by Muñoz that really push (us & them) to the limits.

“The final song is an ecstatic version of Mr. Sanders’ theme, “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” with Pharoah singing and sounding just right at delivering those spiritual, uplifting words. It is a perfect ending to perhaps the most “cosmic” CD of the year. Nothing else comes close!”