Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sun Ra - 1999 - Janus

Sun Ra

01. Island In The Sun 5:23
02. The Invisible Shield 5:43
03. Janus 6:59
04. Velvet 7:22
05. Joy 9:15

1 Island In The Sun
Alto Clarinet – Danny Davis
Bass [Prob.] – Ronnie Boykins
Flute – Marshall Allen
Percussion – John Gilmore
Percussion [Prob.] – Pat Patrick
Piano – Sun Ra
2a The Invisible Shield
Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis, Marshall Allen
Bassoon [Neptunian Libflecto (modified Bassoon)] – Danny Ray Thompson
Drums [Prob.] – Clifford Jarvis
Organ, Synthesizer [Mini-moog] – Sun Ra
2b Janus
Alto Saxophone, Percussion – Danny Davis
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Bass Clarinet [Prob.], Percussion [Prob.] – Robert Cummings
Bongos [Prob.], Percussion [Prob.] – Pat Patrick
Effects [Reverb], Percussion – Tommy Hunter
Gong, Clavinet, Directed By – Sun Ra
Piccolo Flute – Marshall Allen
Tenor Saxophone, Bells – John Gilmore
Vocals, Percussion – Art Jenkins
3 Velvet
Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis, Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Drums – Clifford Jarvis
Drums [Log Drum], Flute – James Jacson
French Horn – Robert Northern
Performer [Solos] – Pat Patrick, Robert Northern, Sun Ra
Piano – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore
Trombone [Prob.] – Bernard Pettaway
4 Joy
Alto Saxophone, Percussion – Danny Davis, Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone, Percussion – Pat Patrick
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Drums – Clifford Jarvis
Drums [Log Drum] – James Jacson
French Horn – Robert Northern
Piano, Keyboards [Clavioline] – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trombone [Prob.] – Bernard Pettaway
Companies, etc.
Licensed To – 1201 Music, Inc.
Manufactured By – 1201 Music, Inc.
Recorded At – Variety Recording Studio
Recorded At – Sun Studios, New York
Recorded At – Choreographers Workshop
Composed By – Sun Ra
Layout, Design – Ric Simenson
Liner Notes – Robert L. Campbell*
Photography By – Michael Wilderman
Track 1 - Variety Recording Studio, NYC, between 1968 and 1970.
Track 2a - Recorded mono, probably at a live performance, 1970.
Track 2b - Recorded at Sun Studios, NYC, 1967 or '68 (Sun Ra solo) / Recorded at Choreographers' Workshop, NYC, 1963 (group).
Track 3 - Recorded in early 1968; it is different from a live recording from 1969 previously known to discographers.
Track 4 - Recorded live in NYC, early 1968.

"The Invisible Shield" and "Janus" are listed as two separate tracks on the cover but are joined as one track on the disc.

The credits for track 2b, credit Sun Ra with "gong or clavinet".

"Sun Ra must have planned Janus as an entity in 1970 or 1971. But it was never released on LP. The first three tracks eventually appeared on one side of some obscure Saturn LP pressings; the last two are just now being issued, allowing us to hear Sun Ra's original conception for the first time."

In the mid and late 1960's, Sun Ra would often quote a familiar composition as a theme just at the beginning or end of a series of free improvisations. The final 3 minutes of Joy could be more free improv., or they could move into the theme of El Is a Sound of Joy or possibly another Sun Ra tune like Tapestry from an Asteroid. (When the words to this composition are sung, the last two words are "space joy").

This compilation of rare material from the Sun Ra Arkestra draws from tapes recorded between 1963 and 1970, and the space-age jazz shaman conjures up a variety of styles and moods along the way. A balmy tropical vibe greets the ears with the opener ("Island in the Sun"), but it doesn't take long for Ra to set his controls for the stratosphere, and soon, distorted gongs, haunted house organ, and homemade instruments are exploring African mysticism on the title track. "Velvet" is a more traditional hard bop cut, but some gleefully manic saxophone and French horn work lends a cartoonish anarchy to the tune. Chaos is certainly the form for the finale, "Joy," as Ra directs his boys to get free, and the musicians coast through gale wind discord into a calm, disturbing breeze. It all winds down to a lonely drummer whose solo (and the album) meets an abrupt end mid-lick. Taken from both live and studio performances, the tracks may once have been intended as a complete album, but they haven't been available previously except scattered between a few rare Saturn sides. Janus is hardly essential for anyone still combing through Ra's voluminous catalog of unique releases, but the hardcore contingent won't be disappointed.



  2. never seen or heard this one before. thank you!