Pharoah SandersThembi

Label:Impulse! – AS-9206, ABC Records – AS-9206
Series:University Series Of Fine Recordings
Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Gatefold
Style:Free Jazz, Soul-Jazz, Free Improvisation


A1Astral Traveling
Written-ByLonnie Liston Smith
A2Red, Black & Green
Written-ByPharoah Sanders
Written-ByPharoah Sanders
Written-ByCecil McBee
B2Morning Prayer9:11
B3Bailophone Dance
Written-ByPharoah Sanders

Companies, etc.



1st US pressing which has been pressed of the ABC Impulse Jazz on Black Center Red Circle Label result of an agreement of short duration between the Charisma and the Impulse! As in the times was launched as branch jazz by ABC.

The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA, November 25, 1970 (Tracks A1 to A3)
The Record Plant, NYC, January 12, 1971 (Tracks B1 to B3)

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Rights Society: BMI
  • Rights Society: ASCAP
  • Matrix / Runout (Label Side A): AS 9206-A
  • Matrix / Runout (Label Side B): AS 9206-B
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A): AS-9206 A
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B): AS-9206 B

Other Versions (5 of 40)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
New Submission
Thembi (LP, Album, Stereo, Gatefold)Impulse!AS-9206Canada1971
New Submission
Thembi (Cassette, Album)Impulse!M59206US1971
New Submission
Thembi (LP, Album, Stereo, Gatefold)Impulse!, ABC RecordsAS-9206France1971
Recently Edited
Thembi (LP, Album, Stereo, Gatefold)Impulse!, ABC RecordsAS-9206US1971
New Submission
Thembi (8-Track Cartridge, Album, Stereo)Impulse!M 89206US1971



  • biggysteve's avatar
    A spectacular sounding pressing which I have just revisited, now that Pharoah has ascended past his physical form.

    Fly high, Mr. Sanders. We love you forever.
    • fel.sch's avatar
      My copy looks fairly new but otherwise like the first pressing (also gatefold and labels exact replica). However, it has "BN 9206-A" and "BN 9206-B" stamped in the runout. I don't seem to find a release that matches, anyone else with a copy like mine?
      • Alain_Patrick's avatar
        Lonnie Liston Smith interview excerpt for Electronic Standards:

        “Astral Travelling’ (1971) was the first time I played an Electric Piano! Before that, I only played the Grand Piano. I met Pharoah Sanders in the late sixties, and we were doing this particular record session in a California Studio when I found a strange instrument on the corner, cause you know, they have a lot of instruments there. I asked “What’s that?” and they said it was an Electric Piano! I started playing it and it blew people’s minds! At the time we recorded this music, I was studying Astral projections, so I decided to call it ‘Astral Travelling’. It’s a twelve-bar 21st Century Cosmic Blues! We recorded it for Pharoah Sanders’s ‘Thembi’ LP.
        Working with Pharoah was great, he was doing different things with his horn, and me with the piano! And also Leon Thomas on the vocals, for example, on the ‘Karma’ LP (1969) by yodeling. We were all experimenting, wanting to do different things with the instruments!”
        • ruderoy121's avatar
          Edited 4 years ago
          Sometimes i listen to this album and i am amazed at the way the instruments are being played and the sounds they are able to create.
          "Astral traveling" and "Thembi" are unique, I cannot think of an album like it.
          There must be other tracks even by Pharoah or other artists, but this album seems to stand out. .
          The other thing which i don't know if others agree, This is not music as i know it.
          Why should i like it or even love it?, because it is so strange to what i usually or normally listen too..
          Maybe that is why i love it, it is almost like meditation..
          • smoothjazzaxe's avatar
            Thembi has something for everyone. It came along at a very turbulent and uncertain time in the history of jazz. However, it's very eclectic stance gives it a foot in every dimension.
            • midnightrunner's avatar
              My mam is not normally a fan of free-jazz such as this, but when I put it on the other evening while she was doing one of her giant cross-stitches, she said she found it quite relaxing, and she let me have some ice cream as a special treat!!
              • ruderoy121's avatar
                These guys did something so special in years to come records like these will be a testament of what makes Human beings the most potent force in our universe, this album opened my ears and expressed that humans have something called a soul, very few people have ever achieved going to a higher plain through music, in my view what we have here is Shamans music that state of nirvāṇa.
                Through their instruments they have transcended the physical to move towards the pure spirit.
                • rt1022's avatar
                  "On Thembi, that was the first time that I ever touched a Fender Rhodes electric piano. We got to the studio in California — Cecil McBee had to unpack his bass, the drummer had to set up his drums, Pharoah had to unpack all of his horns. Everybody had something to do, but the piano was just sitting there waiting. I saw this instrument sitting in the corner and I asked the engineer, 'What is that?' He said, 'That’s a Fender Rhodes electric piano.' I didn’t have anything to do, so I started messing with it, checking some of the buttons to see what I could do with different sounds. All of a sudden I started writing a song and everybody ran over and said, 'What is that?' And I said, 'I don’t know, I’m just messing around.' Pharoah said, 'Man, we gotta record that. Whatcha gonna call it?' I’d been studying astral projections and it sounded like we were floating through space so I said let’s call it 'Astral Traveling.' That’s how I got introduced to the electric piano" — Lonnie Liston Smith
                  • printhead73's avatar
                    An unusually eclectic Pharoah record. "Astral Travelling" is a proto-Smooth Jazz journey to the New Age written by Smith, with Pharoah on soprano and Smith electric. "Red, Black & Green" is an intense free exploration. "Thembi" is a sunny love song, with Pharoah on soprano again.. "Love" is a bass solo by McBee that serves as an intro to "Morning Prayer", a ballad which in turn segues directly into "Ballophone Dance", a very afrocentric number.


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