Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sun Ra - 1972 - Nidhamu (Live In Egypt Vol. II)

Sun Ra
1972
Nidhamu (Live In Egypt Vol. II)


01. Space Loneliness No. 2 11:41
02. Discipline No. 11 9:39
03. Discipline No. 15 2:44
04. Nidhamu 13:12

Alto Saxophone, Congas – Larry Northington
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Danny Davis, Hakim Rahim
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe – Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Danny Thompson
Bass Clarinet – Elo Omoe
CPiano, Organ, Synthesizer – Sun Ra
Engineer [Recording Engineer] – Tam Fiofori
Percussion – Lex Humphries, Tommy Hunter
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trumpet, Congas – Kwame Hadi
Vocals – June Tyson


'Nidhamu' (The Outer Bridge)
In the half-between world
Dwell they the tone-scientists
Sound
Mathematically precise
They speak of many things
The sound-scientists
Architects of planes of discipline.
......Sun Ra (poem on Back Cover)

Tracks A1-A3: Recorded at Ballon Theater, Cairo, Egypt December 17, 1971
Track B: Recorded in the house of Hartmut Geerken, Cairo, Egypt, December 12, 1971.
On some copies location is incorrectly given as live in Holland, 1971. Some copies has 'Live in Egypt Vol. II' printed on jacket by Danny Ray Thompson. (infos from 'The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra' by Robert L. Campbell)


In 1968, Ra moved the Arkestra from New York to Philadelphia, where he lived until his death (and where the Arkestra is still based). Ra released records most prolifically during the 1970s, usually on El Saturn but sometimes on the subsidiary Thoth Intergalactic. Nidhamu was recorded in Heliopolis and Cairo during the Arkestra’s first tour of Egypt. The tour is also documented on another Thoth album, Live in Egypt Volume 1, retitled Dark Myth Equation Visitation on reissue.

Nidhamu & Dark Myth Visitation Equation complete the Egypt trilogy. Most remarkable is 'Nidhamu' (the second release of the series, half recorded at the Balloon Theatre, the other half at Hartmut Geerken's house in Heliopolis) - a remarkable document: austere and very out there. Electric keyboards and an eerie 'Discipline No.11'set the scene, and after some solo Moog there's a spooky miniature 'Discipline No.15' introducing another long Moog and keyboards solo: 35 pretty abstract minutes that just slip by. 'Dark Myth Visitation Equation' follows (this was the first LP release, and has also been known as Sun Ra in Egypt Vol 1 and Nature's God). The first tracks are from the Cairo TV broadcast and the whole collection features more familiar groove-based pieces characteristic of the period, interspersed with Moog and electric keyboard solos. June Tyson reappears for 'To Nature's God' and the highly eccentric 'Why go to the Moon?'

"Nidhamu" is striking on early listenings, it broods. On close examination there's not a lot of content per se composition-wise. Lots of atmospheric noodling. The track which most impresses me is "Discipline 15" - short but ghostly.

Sun Ra - 1972 - Live In Egypt Vol. I

Sun Ra 
1972
Live In Egypt Vol. I 
(Nature's God) (Dark Myth Equation Visitation)


01. Discipline 27
02. Interview With Ra
03. Solar Ship Voyage
04. Interview With Ra [concluded]
05. Cosmo-Darkness
06. The Light Thereof
07. Friendly Galaxy No. 2
08. To Nature's God
09. Why Go To The Moon?

Alto Saxophone – Hakim Rahim
Alto Saxophone, Congas – Larry Narthington
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe – Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Danny Thompson
Bass Clarinet – Elo Omoe
Organ, Synthesizer [Moog], Electric Harpsichord [Rockichord], Piano – Sun Ra
Percussion – Lex Humphries, Tommy Hunter
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trumpet, Congas – Kwame Hadi
Vocals – June Tyson

Side A was a TV broadcast from Cairo, 12/16/1971, and side B recorded at the house of Hartmut Geerken, Heliopolis, Cairo, 12/12/71.



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sun Ra - 1998 - Life Is Splendid

Sun Ra
1998
Life Is Splendid


01. Enlightenment
02. Love In Outer Space
03. Space Is The Place
04. Discipline 27-11 / What Planet Is This? / Life Is Spelendid / Immeasurable
05. Watusi
06. Outer Spaceways Incorporated

Alto Saxophone – Larry Worthington
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Danny Davis, Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Danny Thompson
Bass Clarinet – Leroy Taylor (2)
Drums – Alzo Wright, Lex Humphries
Drums [Space] – Harry Richards, Robert Underwood
Lead Vocals – June Tyson
Percussion – Russell Branch, Stanley Morgan
Piano, Organ [Space], Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Lamont McClamb
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals – Akh-Tal Ebah
Voice [Space Ethnic Voices] – Cheryl Bank, Judith Holton, Ruth Wright

Recorded in performance at Otis Spann Memorial Field, Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, 1972 for Atlantic Records.


A document of Sun Ra’s performance at the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, Life Is Splendid captures the Arkestra in peak psychotic form-and I mean that in a good sense. While on earlier ’50s and ’60s outings, Ra’s orchestra still had one foot solidly in the camp of Fletcher Henderson’s orchestral elegance as it explored the outer reaches of the avant-garde, this post-Woodstock, post-Hendrix edition of the Arkestra is solidly tuned into the electro-psychedelic vibe of the day. The sheer intensity here makes Miles Davis’ electrified Agharta and Pangaea bands look tame by comparison. Seething and cathartic, the Arkestra connected with MC5 fans then and relates more today to Sonic Youth than to the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

The Arkestra’s 37-minute set modulates from theme to theme and mood to mood, opening on a fairly melodic note

with the two-minute, metaphysical “Enlightenment,” sung by June Tyson. The band segues to a frantic, polyrhythmic percussion jam fueled by Ra’s grungy, organ distorted tones. The raucous, over-the-top excursion “Love in Outer Space” should appeal to the fringe elements of the Medeski, Martin & Wood crowd. The sickness factor only picks up from there on “Discipline 27-11,” reaching frightening proportions during Marshall Allen’s shriekback alto solo and Ra’s own horrifically dissonant synth solo.

Ra’s anthemic “Space Is the Place” is layered with more spiky Marshall Allen statements and some throat-ripping, octave-leaping by either Tyson or one of the Space Ethnic Voices (Judith Holton, Cheryl Bank, Ruth Wright). We don’t get to hear much of tenor sax giant John Gilmore or baritone sax ace Pat Patrick throughout the disc, but we do hear drummers Lex Humphries and Alzo Wright unleash an explosion of drums and percussion on “Watusi” that sounds like every metal and wood object inside your house falling down an infinite flight of stairs. The Arkestra’s set ends with “Outer Spaceways Incorporated,” a Ra ditty that encourages the audience to sign up-just before he hits the launch button on his synth.

A disturbing and wonderful document from the archives of John Sinclair.


This lists six tracks on the sleeve (nine if you count the one titled "Discipline 27-11/What Planet Is This?/Life Is Splendid/Immeasurable" as four discrete pieces), but it's actually one continuous 37-minute performance from Ra's "Space Is the Place" suite. Recorded live at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival on September 8, 1972, it is actually incomplete: as producer John Sinclair writes in his liner notes, "The opening sections are not available because a proper mix could not be achieved until several minutes into the performance." It's a decent, energetic slice of the kind of music typical of Ra's performances during this time, moving back and forth from June Tyson's moving, incantational vocals to freer instrumental passages highlighting Ra's organ. Those passages, not unexpectedly, get freer and freer until they teeter on the edge of bursting, sometimes putting wailing brass, Ra's careering "space organ," or pummeling percussion at the forefront. The sound is good, better (as is the music) than the 1973 Ra performance at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival that was issued by Total Energy on the Outer Space Employment Agency album.

Life is Splendid is an unfortunately overlooked posthumous live recording of Sun Ra & His Solar Myth Arkestra from their September 8, 1972 performance at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival (by virtue of being released on the relatively obscure Total Energy Records label). Capturing the group at the peak of their powers, here they are at their chaotic, cathartic, and futuristic best. The proceedings are ratcheted up a notch during "Space is the Place," especially as vocalist June Tyson nearly shatters her vocal cords in the process of doing some Yoko Ono-inspired (or perhaps the other way around) throat singing. The 37-minute suite is swirling with continuous action, whether it's the buzzing industrial hum of Sun Ra's keys or the team of six percussionists driving the action with a heart arrhythmia pulse. This set compares favorably to one of Sun Ra's most widely distributed vinyl recordings, It's After the End of the World: Live at the Donaueschingen and Berlin Festivals, as it has better sound quality and has fewer lulls. If you want to know what it's like to get blasted into space, Life is Splendid is the recording for you.

Sun Ra - 1973 - Horizon

Sun Ra 
1973
Horizon


Saturn Records 1973 LP Tracklist:

01. Starwatchers
02. Discipline 2
03. Shadow World
04. Third Planet
05. Space Is The Place
06. Horizon
07. Discipline 8

Art Yard 2008 CD Reissue:


01. Theme Of The Star Gazers
02. Discipline #2
03. The Shadow World
04. Enlightenment
05. Love In Outer Space
06. Third Planet
07. Space Is The Place
08. Horizon
09. Discipline #8
10. We'll Wait For You
11. The Satellites Are Spinning


Alto Saxophone, Congas – Larry Northington
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe, Percussion, Vocals – Marshall Allen
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Danny Davis, Hakim Rahim
Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Danny Thompson
Bass Clarinet, Vocals – Eloe Omoe
Drums, Vocals – Clifford Jarvis, Lex Humphries, Tommy Hunter
Electric Bass, Vocals – Pat Patrick
Organ [Tiger], Synthesizer [Moog], Piano [Upright], Vocals – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Drums, Vocals – John Gilmore
Trumpet, Congas, Vocals – Kwame Hadi
Vocals, Other [Dance] – Gloristeena Knight, June Tyson, Verta Grosvenor

Recorded at The Ballon Theatre, Cairo, Egypt 12/17/1971.



Art Yard has been reissuing a number of much sought after Saturn albums with great sound and beautifully packaged. Horizon was recorded at the Ballon Theater in Cairo, Egypt, December 17, 1971. Arkestra members on this monumental tour through Europe and Egypt include John Gilmore, Marshall Allan, Pat Patrick, Eloe Omoe, Tommy Hunter and June Tyson.

This rare platter contains material documented during Sun Ra and his Arkestra's first Egyptian visit, and as such is exceedingly important in Ra's voluminous canon, as much of his personal and historical mythology is centered there. The selections on Horizon (1974) were recorded at the Ballon Theater in Cairo on December 17, 1971, and was sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. While even more of the tour exists in private tape collections, this is one of the only discs to have been issued -- though in very limited numbers -- making it a real treat for free jazz aficionados. The opening, " Starwatchers/Theme of the Stargazers" medley begins with a choral chant and solo from John Gilmore (tenor sax/percussion) before the entire Arkestra dive headlong into a languid free jazz jam that evolves slowly into an intense flute and alto sax run with Danny Davis (flute), Hakim Rahim (flute), and Larry Northington (alto sax). Ra's mini-Moog is atonal and schizophrenic as his sharp staccato inflections pierce the soundscape overtop of the Arkestra. The recording is far from perfect, as the musicians move in and out of microphone range, however, there is suitable fidelity when discerning the band as they ebb and swell around Ra's ferocious performance. Both "Discipline 2" as well as "Discipline 8" are variations of the Arkestra standard, and each is unequivocally unique. Albeit brief, another highlight is the "Space Is the Place" chant and free jazz processional, allowing the combo to interact at their most melodic -- on this disc, anyway. Students and enthusiasts of avant-garde jazz -- especially of Sun Ra -- should actively seek copies of this LP for a thoroughly enjoyable sonic excursion that rises to the auspicious occasion.

For me this is Sun Ra's finest album. Live in December 1971 at the Ballon Theatre, Cairo, Egypt. I've always found the live recordings of Sun Ra to be better than most of his studio dates, and this album is the nearest thing to being at a Ra gig you'll ever get. The special atmosphere may be due to the location; Egypt must surely take a special place in Sun Ra's heart, something of a spiritual homecoming. All stops are pulled out on this set; totally breath-taking.

Sun Ra - 1993 - Soundtrack for the Film "Space is the Place"

Sun Ra
1993
Soundtrack for the Film "Space is the Place"


01. It's After The End Of The World 3:25
02. Under Different Stars 3:55
03. Discipline 33 3:22
04. Watusa 7:11
05. Calling Planet Earth 3:04
06. I Am The Alter-Destiny 1:08
07. Satellites Are Spinning 2:33
08. Cosmic Forces 3:09
09. Outer Spaceways Incorporated 3:00
10. We Travel The Spaceways 2:28
11. The Overseer 3:04
12. Blackman / Love In Outer Space 16:53
13. Mysterious Crystal 5:53
14. I Am The Brother Of The Wind 5:54
15. We'll Wait For You 4:11
16. Space Is The Place 4:23

Alto Saxophone, Congas, Percussion – Larry Northington
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Bass Clarinet, Percussion – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Kora, Cowbell, Percussion – Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone, Percussion – Danny Ray Thompson
Bass Clarinet, Bongos, Percussion – Eloe Omoe
Congas – Ken Moshesh
Drums – Lex Humphries
Piano, Synthesizer [Mini-moog], Organ [Farfisa], Clavinet [Hohner], Keyboards [Rochsichord], Voice [Declamation], Arranged By, Composed By – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone, Drums, Percussion, Vocals – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Wayne Harris
Trumpet, Congas, Vibraphone – Kwame Hadi
Vocals, Bells – June Tyson

Film produced by Jim Newman.
All selections were recorded in Oakland, California in 1972, for inclusion in the film Space is the Place.
This music is previously unreleased.


Space Is the Place is the soundtrack to a film that was made but never released, and the tunes are among his most ambitious, unorthodox, and compelling compositions. Between June Tyson's declarative vocals, chants, and dialogue and Ra's crashing, flailing synthesizer and organ fills, and with such songs as "Blackman/Love in Outer Space," "It's After the End of the World," and "I Am the Brother of the Wind," this disc offers aggressive, energized, and uncompromising material. Ra's pianistic forays, phrases, and textures were sometimes dismissed as mere noodling when they were part of a well-constructed multimedia package. This comes as close as any of Ra's releases to being not only a concept work but a blueprint for his live shows from the early '70s until the end of his career. Features some previously unissued cuts.

Some of it is very wild, some pieces feature familiar space chants lead by the terrific June Tyson, others have distant horns with cavernous reverb, still others are heavy percussion workouts, and some are oddball synth pieces. All in all, this encompasses just about everything Sun Ra is about, and provides a perfect snapshot of his most daring and productive period. Highly recommended to adventurous listeners who want to learn more about this giant's music and figure out which way they want to go with it. If I had one tiny complaint, it's that individual players - Tyson aside - aren't given a lot of solo room. Also, I put this on just after listening to Iannis Xenakis' Musique Electro Acoustique and I think that however fringe-y and belittled Sun Ra may be in the popular view, his electro-acoustic music holds up as well or better than the more revered composer's works.

Sun Ra - 1972 - Universe in Blue

Sun Ra
1972
Universe in Blue


01. Universe In Blue Part I
02. Universe In Blue Part II
03. Blackman
04. In A Blue Mood
05. Another Shade Of Blue

Alto Saxophone, Clarinet – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone, Oboe, Piccolo Flute, Flute – Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Danny Thompson
Bass Clarinet, Piccolo Flute – Eloe Omoe
Cello – Alzo Wright
Percussion – Lex Humphries
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Akh Tal Ebah, Kwame Hadi
Vocals – June Tyson


“The Universe in Blue is a fantastic set. The title cut is just a slow blues soloing showcase with Sun Ra's "intergalactic space organ," trumpet (not sure who), John Gilmore's tenor sax, and back to Ra. June Tyson takes center stage for "Blackman", giving a particularly impassioned performance. "In a Blue Mood" (just Ra and Luqman Ali on drums) and "Another Shade of Blue" are just back-to-the-basics blues form for more soloing. Ra sticks to organ for the entire date, and it's just wonderful to hear what the Arkestra does with such a "simple" form. This is a fairly rare, fairly inside date, and fans of Ra and Gilmore's playing will be especially pleased.” 
“The Universe in Blue is a fantastic set. The title cut is just a slow blues soloing showcase with Sun Ra's "intergalactic space organ," trumpet (not sure who), John Gilmore's tenor sax, and back to Ra. June Tyson takes center stage for "Blackman", giving a particularly impassioned performance. "In a Blue Mood" (just Ra and Luqman Ali on drums) and "Another Shade of Blue" are just back-to-the-basics blues form for more soloing. Ra sticks to organ for the entire date, and it's just wonderful to hear what the Arkestra does with such a "simple" form. This is a fairly rare, fairly inside date, and fans of Ra and Gilmore's playing will be especially pleased.” 
Universe In Blue was originally pressed up by Sun Ra’s Saturn label in 1972.  Despite their history of pressing inconsistencies (to say the least) Sun Ra’s records usually do hold together with their own extra-terrestrial logic.  Containing five Ra originals, Side A contains the title cut; a two-part organ jam from the composer himself.   Side B kicks off with some of June Tyson’s most profound recorded moments, unleashing a gospel-ish wail singing about “when the black man ruled the earth” on the show stopper “Black Man”.  Two instrumentals close Side B with the eleven-piece “Blue Universe Arkestra” featuring regulars like Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Pat Patrick, Eloe Elmo and sometime Yusef Lateef drummer Lex Humphries holding down the rhythm.  It’s an unusually bluesy set (particularly for the era) and yet another puzzle piece to one of the 20th century’s most intriguing performer/composers.

Sun Ra - 1971 - Pictures Of Infinity

Sun Ra 
1971
Pictures Of Infinity 


01. Somewhere There 15:10
02. Outer Spaceways Incorporated 7:02
03. Saturn 6:08
04. Song Of The Sparer 4:22
05. Spontaneous Simplicity 7:56

Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis
Baritone Saxophone – Pat Patrick
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Bass Clarinet – Robert Cummings
Drums – Ahk Tal Ebah, Ali Hassan, James Jackson, John Gilmore, Kwame Hadi, Marshall Allen, Nimrod Hunt, Pat Patrick, Teddy Nance
Flute – Danny Davis, James Jackson, Marshall Allen, Pat Patrick
Oboe – Marshall Allen
Percussion – Clifford Jarvis
Piano, Electric Piano [Clavioline] – Sun Ra
Trombone – Ali Hassan, Bernard Pettaway, Teddy Nance
Trumpet – Ahk Tal Ebah, Kwame Hadi

Recorded in New York City, 1968. Track B3 courtesy of Saturn Records.


"A lot of people say that I'm just playing around, but it's not like that. I know music from head to tail, I know all the laws of music, I was reared up playing classics and I went to college and studied music for teacher's training, so I KNOW music. But I'm just following my own way, and I know what I'm doing." — Sun Ra, 1966 

This collection of recordings, drawn from several sources, are somewhat stylistically unified. The personnel, arrangements, audio quality, and research indicate these recordings were made at concert locations in and around New York, ca. 1966. They might have originated from a series of college tours Sun Ra undertook with the Arkestra in upstate New York, while the band was living and largely working in New York City. 

In the mid-1960s, Sun Ra's commercial recordings and performances were reflecting new musical directions, many representing extreme departures from his Chicago (1956–1960) and early New York (1961–1963) approaches to jazz. Such albums as Other Planes of There (1964), The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra (volumes 1 & 2; 1965), The Magic City (1965), Strange Strings (1966), and Atlantis (1967) pushed beyond the conventions of structured, beat-driven jazz to challenging frontiers. To many ears, they were no longer "inside" jazz at all. Rather, they were "outside"—groundbreaking musical forms that transcended categories. In jazz circles, this side of Ra sparked controversy, gaining him many allies, while losing others. 

The 1966 recordings in this set, however, are largely "inside," and demonstrate that during this period Ra didn't abandon his jazz roots (in fact, he never did). These titles, many dating from his Chicago and early New York years, represent an updating of Sun Ra's early catalog (with some new titles). The playing is loose, but structured, and Sun Ra's featured soloists get ample opportunities to stretch out. Call it "harder bop." 

In the ballad-like “The Wind Speaks,” the opening and closing themes echo the melody of “Somebody Else’s World,” an early 1970s composition which originated in the late 1950s as “Somebody Else’s Idea.” This Third Stream arrangement features a haunting duet between Ra on Clavioline and Ronnie Boykins on bowed bass. "State Street," first recorded in 1960 and rarely performed, harkens back to one of Ra's earliest musical gigs in Chicago, the Club DeLisa, where as Herman "Sonny" Blount he played piano for the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in the late 1940s. A short take of "We Travel the Spaceways" closes the album; during the tour this title was often performed as an abbreviated coda. 

As with any Sun Ra recordings, imperfections abound. The mixes are less than perfectly balanced, there's occasional distortion and missed performance cues, and soloists are not always near the mic. But as we've often pointed out, Sun Ra never recorded in a Dave Brubeck studio with a Miles Davis budget. This is "Garage Jazz." 

Although no precise date is given, these five cuts are thought to have been documented circa 1967-1968 by Sun Ra (piano) and his Arkestra in New York City, where the band was in residence at the time. There is a mixture of older works as well as newer selections on 1971's Pictures of Infinity. That said, even the established compositions -- most notably the full-throttled reading of "Saturn" that commences the collection -- are given fresh sonic visages. Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore is particularly potent with his flawless fluidity running melodic yet hard bopping lines over top of the solid rhythm section. He gives a hearty personality to his interjections as they dart in and out of the spiraling mile-a-minute arrangement. Bassist Ronnie Boykins is commanding, especially as his solo emerges out of drummer Nimrod Hunt's rapid-fire timekeeping. "Song of the Sparer" is an exquisite and rarely documented tune that begins with some intricate phrases from Ra before evolving into a languid and practically dirgelike improvisational piece. "Spontaneous Simplicity" is highlighted by some warm and inviting interplay between a flutist -- presumably either Danny Davis or Pat Patrick -- and Ra, whose strident piano accompaniment is remarkably suited to the earthy nature of the woodwind's ethereal, alternately liberating and plaintive sound. Immediately contrasting the more rural expressions is the aggressive extended free jazz attack heard on "Somewhere There." The bombastic percussion and practically sadistic sax-and-drum onslaught thrash about in an almost definitive example of the sheer power possessed by the Arkestra. The "Outer Spaceways Incorporated" chant concluding this long-player is similar to other versions and remains an affirmative statement juxtaposing an inescapably dissonant introduction with the playful nature of the singalong quality of the verses.

Sun Ra - 1998 - Calling Planet Earth

Sun Ra
1971
Calling Planet Earth


01. Discipline No. 5 1:49
02. Discipline No. 10 2:45
03. Enlightenment 2:35
04. Love In Outer Space 8:12
05. Discipline No. 15 2:44
06. The Satellites Are Spinning 2:38
07. Calling Planet Earth 6:48
08. The Outers 9:54
09. Adventures Outer Space 7:32

Sun Ra and His Arkesta recorded at Tivoli Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark on December 5, 1971.

Alto Saxophone, Congas – Larry Northington
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Danny Thompson
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe, Percussion – Marshall Allen
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Danny Davis, Hakim Rahim
Piano, Organ, Synthesizer [Mini Moog] – Sun Ra
Baritone Saxophone, Electric Bass – Pat Patrick
Trumpet, Congas – Kwame Hadi
Drums – Clifford Jarvis, Lex Humphries, Tommy Hunter
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Drums – John Gilmore
Bass Clarinet, Flute – Eloe Omoe
Other [Lightshow] – Richard Wilkinson
Vocals, Performer [Dance] – June Tyson


originally released as "Calling Planet Earth", CD, Freedom CD 741071 (1998).
Tracks 3-1 to 3-9: probably Cheryl Banks and Wisteria el Moondew (Judith Holton) dance.
Recorded at Tivoli Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 5, 1971.



Sun Ra - 1971 - It's After The End Of The World

Sun Ra
1971
It's After The End Of The World
Live At The Donaueschingen And Berlin Festivals



01. Strange Dreams - Strange Worlds - Black Myth / It's After The End Of The World 14:40
02. Black Forest Myth 9:15
03. Watusi, Egyptian March 2:48
04. Myth Versus Reality (The Myth-Science Aproach) / Angelic Proclamation / Out In Space 18:22
05. Duos 4:42

Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute – Abshlom Ben Shlom
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe, Piccolo Flute, Drums – Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute – Danny Thompson
Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Drums – Pat Patrick
Bass – Alejandro Blake Fearon
Bass Clarinet – Robert Cummings
Drums – Lex Humphries
Drums, Oboe, Flute – James Jackson
English Horn – Augustus Browning
Mellophone, Trumpet – Ahk Tal Ebah
Oboe, Bassoon, Bass Clarinet – Leroy Taylor
Organ [Farfisa, Hohner Electra], Clavinet [Hohner], Piano, Performer [Roc-si-chord, Spacemaster], Synthesizer [Mini-moog], Voice, Composed By, Arranged By – Sun Ra
Percussion [African], Other [Fireeater, Dancer] – Hazoume
Percussion [Hand Drums] – Nimrod Hunt
Percussion, Other [Dancer] – Ife Tayo, Math Samba
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Kwame Hadi
Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass – Alan Silva
Voice – June Tyson

Duos and all the A side were recorded on October 17 1970 at Donaueschingen, Myth versus Reality was recorded at Berlin Jazz Festival, Kongresshalle, Berlin. Watusi is not clear which concert comes from.


Sun Ra, one of the most idiosyncratic, prophetic and theatrical personalities which populated the Jazz Planet (Earth or elsewhere). The album was recorded live in Germany during the 1970 Donaueschingen and Berlin Festivals for the MPS label and produced by Joachim Berendt. It presents five tracks, all of which are original composition by Sun Ra, which are performed by an orchestra which includes twenty one additional players. Some of the more familiar names of the orchestra members include among others saxophonists John Gilmore and Marshall Allen, bassist Alan Silva, and drummer Lex Humphries.

The music, although pre-conceived and structured, is mostly freely improvised by the orchestra members, who play lengthy solos and engage in group improvisations. It is very dramatic and of course creates a kind of "space" ambience, which seems to be unattached to anything "earthly". I have seen and heard Sun Ra live many times over the years and this recording presents him at his most experimental stage of his musical "philosophy", which in many respects was also the most fascinating in retrospect.

If we ignore the hype and theatrics, this is one of the earliest examples of large scale collective improvisations, and as such is an important historic document of the development of Jazz and Improvised Music. The fact that these German festivals welcomed this extravagant music documents the openness and spirit of exploration that characterized the European Jazz scene at the time, often accepting American Jazz musicians, who were personae non gratae in their homeland.

This forgotten little gem is definitely worth being discovered!

Side Note: The legendary German MPS (Musik Produktion Schwarzwald) label, founded by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer (HGBS) in 1963, first as SABA Records and later on from 1968 as MPS Records, was the most important independent European record label, which had an enormous contribution to the development of European Jazz. For many years MPS cooperated with the legendary German producer / author Joachim Berendt, my friend and mentor, whose visionary approach and open-mindedness brought the crème de la crème of the Jazz (in the broadest meaning of the word) musicians from all over the world to the label.

Between 1963 and 1983 MPS produced about five hundred albums, many of which are among the most important Jazz recordings on this planet. In 1983 the MPS catalog was sold to Universal, which sadly resulted in all those artistic treasures to disappear from the face of the earth – a situation not only tragic but culturally criminal. Universal reissued only very few MPS albums on CD over the years.

Since 2008 the German Promising Music label is releasing some of the MPS recordings, but at a very slow pace. In 2014 the German company Edel AG bought the MPS catalogue from Universal and released a series of 25 MPS albums with a new graphic design, which brought all those excellent albums back to life, but that series was sadly not continued until years later.

Spectacular, wild double from two live 1970 dates in Germany. Black Myth, from Donaueschingen on October 17th, provides lots of up front horn madness throughout from the usual Gilmore-Allen-Patrick front line, augmented here by Danny Davis and Danny Thompson. But Sun Ra also turns in spectacular synthesizer solos (especially on the lead track), and June Tyson is by this time an indispensable part of the Arkestra. A difficult one for those who find freer music unpleasant listening, but a superb one for those prepared to meet the challenge. And after listening to the wonderful Black Myth I was shocked to find that Out in Space from two weeks later in Berlin, was even better. The opening title track, which goes on for nearly 40 minutes, is perhaps the best extended Sun Ra piece I've ever heard, starting at a fever pitch and never letting go for an instant. There are wild horn charts and solos, synth solos, even some beautiful acoustic piano (that of course edges up into something altogether more challenging), and much more throughout the length of the piece. It would seem that everything after would inevitably be anti-climactic, but it's never that easy with Ra. Next up there's some pieces from his "Discipline" series, then a great version of "Walking on the Moon," a couple more tracks and then another lengthy piece (15 minutes or so) called "Myth Versus Reality" that begins with a recitation and builds slowly into a typically wild and free number before the disc closes out with two signature chants. Both discs are excellently recorded and full of brilliant music, but they're not easy going.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sun Ra - 2010 - The Paris Tapes: Live At Le Théâtre Du Châtelet 1971

Sun Ra
2010
The Paris Tapes: Live At Le Théâtre Du Châtelet 1971




101. Introduction
102. Discipline 27
103. Untitled Solo
104. Love In Outer Space Part 1
105. Love In Outer Space Part 2
106. Third Planet
107. Somebody Else's Idea
108. Watusi

201. Space Is The Place
202. Angels And Demons At Play
203. Untitled Keyboards
204. Discipline Number Unkown!
205. Untitled Synthesizer Solo

released August 30, 2017

Sun Ra – organ, synthesizer, piano, vocal
Kwame Hadi – trumpet, percussion
Ahk Tal Ebah – trumpet, flugelhorn, vocal
Marshall Allen – alto saxophone, flute, oboe, percussion
Danny Davis – alto saxophone, flute, percussion
Larry Northingtotn – alto saxophone, percussion
Istar Sundance – alto saxophone
John Gilmore – tenor saxophone, drums, percussion, vocal
Danny Thompson – baritone saxophone, flute, percussion
Pat Patrick – baritone saxophone, flute, electric bass, percussion
Hakim Rahim – baritone saxophone, alto saxophone. flute
AI Batin Nur [ Augustus Browning] – english horn
Eloe Omoe – bass clarinet, percussion
James Jacson – flute, oboe, infinity drum
Clifford Jarvis – drum
Lex Humphries – drum
Tommy Hunter – drums, alto saxophone
Nimrod Hunt – percussion
Roger Aralamon Hazourne – balafon.
June Tyson – vocal
Malik Ramadan – vocal, tympani
Art Jenkins – vocal, percussion
Wisteria EI Moondew [Judith Holton] – dance
Cheryl Banks – dance
Kevin Massey – dance
Kenneth Alexander – dance

[Psalm 151]

‘Praise Him with the Cymbals, the High sounding cymbals.’



As all events within the African Diaspora commence with the proclamation of the Drum, this analogy is an excellent example of the use of symbolism; orchestrated by Sun Ra. The praise of the Most High reflecting Sun Ra’s ever constant homage to the Creator. The Oration of the Drums speaks to the origins of what playwright Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) referred to as Great Black Music; Drum legend Lex Humphries with Danny Thompson on bongos, John Gilmore on timbales herald the entrance of Sun Ra, on Farfisa organ. The short violent bursts of sound echoing the crack of the whip, the shots through the woods by slave trackers bounty hunters and terrorists in white robes (sometimes blue uniforms) which savaged the communities of African Americans throughout the 19th and most of the 20th Century. This concert took place just three years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King when thought of a Black American President was nonexistent, at the furthest reaches of improbability despite congresswoman Shirley Chisolm’s 1972 bid which was considered merely symbolic. Today. The shots ricocheting from within … with black on black crime, unemployment and lack of education the … manifestation of a socio-physiology full of trauma, self hate and apathy … fuelled by a multi-media platform of disrespect, caricature and humiliation. Each step forward mired in the mud of intolerance. What message was sent to the African American community and the world at large? THIS is the backdrop of the Music of Sun Ra; the struggle continues into the 21st Century. The clarion call of Sun Ra as relevant today as it was Fifty years ago; this is what gave birth to Sun Ra’s statement SPACE IS THE PLACE both literal and allegorical: thoughts, ideas, equations and constructions outside the petty bigotry, cruelty and inhumanity of MAN. 

‘What do you do, when you know, that you know, that you know that your Wrong; you’ve got to Face the music … you’ve got to listen to the Cosmo sound.’ 

[ Sun Ra, 1988 ] 

Following those shots we, hastily depart with Sun Ra at the controls of the Farfiza electric keyboard. The plethora of sounds (reminiscent of Space is the Place theme of Sun Ra’s 1964 movie and music) call for transport out of a world stricken with antebellum apartheid, psycho-social trauma, discrimination and degradation into a mythocracy of omni-being – the lift off toward outer space in allegorical departure from ‘this bitter earth’ onto the planes of cosmic splendour and delight – an entry through the Door of the cosmos to the Omniverse – a place of vast and endless possibilities – the vehicle? The Intergalactic JAZZ of Sun Ra and His Arkestra. 

The raga like pulse of ‘Discipline 27 A’ mirroring (in allegorical context) the journey of the Amistad (slave ship liberated by its captives off the seas of Cuba and navigated to US, where they were eventually freed and returned to Sierra Leone). A parallel course with the tremendous need of African Americans for an alternative reality i.e. an alter-destiny.

The Ra solution: the transmolecularization of African Americans to Outer Space (beam me up, Scotty). Personal note: the only ‘transporters’ which work are music, dance, art, prayer and meditation (Sun Ra told us this night and day, but it is for each individual to internalize and actualize this DISCIPLINE, this truth, within his or herself). 

The Arkestra charts its multirhythmic journey through the stratosphere of dissonant polyphony, lead off by the alto sax of Danny Davis, joined in tandem with present Arkestra Maestro Marshall Allen. The entire Arkestra reed section become the colours brushed from the palette of the Arkestra, painting pictures of the Omniverse as the good ship RA sets sail … across the sea … of Immortality … Toward the Last possibility … Enlightenment. Love in Outer Space speaks directly to the Joy of self-realization, achieved through a conscious connection with the Universe. 

‘The sound is thought of enlightment, the fiery truth of Enlightment, vibrations sent from the space world, are of the starry, cosmic dimensions.’ 

The vehicle? The Drum. The medium? Dance. Imagine … Visualize Sun Ra strutting the stage in Splendour – the reincarnate of Pharaoh. June Tyson, tall, Ebony, elegant, and regal, Sun Ra’s Nefertitti, gliding across the stage, Replete in flowing robes and sequined garb – a space age Josephine Baker I Katherine Dunham I Eartha Kitt bringing the dances of Cotton Club I Harlem into the Space Age. The Arkestra’s Drums and percussion represent the many languages and tongues of the African Diaspora (which will, one day, speak as one). As the Arkestras rhythms undulate, anchored by Master Drummer Disciple Jac Jacson on his Ancient Egyptian Infinity Lightning Wood Drum, they conjure Olatunji’s Drums of Passion or even the Bembe of Afro-Cuba. Not surprisingly, as Marshall, Pat and Danny frequently worked with the Nigerian Master Drummer (when Sun Ra wasn’t looking (smile). During the seventies and eighties all Arkestra members doubled on African and lor miscellaneous percussions. Each member from a different state representing another tribe yet melding into the common language off struggle and liberation of mind, spirit and body under the guidance of Sun Ra. 

‘Love in Outer Space’ develops into a montuno not unlike the Afro-beat of Nigerian legend Fela Kuti (who would call Sun Ra ‘Father’ when the Sun Ra and His Arkestra were invited to the 1977 FESTAC in Nigeria) as Sun Ra unfurls an extended keyboard accompaniment and solo full of rhythmic interplay amidst the dense polyrhythm of the Arkestra’s percussions. 

The Arkestra returns to another variation on ‘Discipline 27’? Which mayor may not have another number (as Sun Ra wrote over 100 Disciplines alone) with the Great Pat Patrick or Danny Thompson playing an incredibly effective counter melody quite similar to the muscular lines and rhythm of Fe la’s Egypt 80 Baritonist (now under the direction of Sean Kuti) propelling the Arkestral reed section with contrapuntal lines and riffs. After trumpeter Kwame Hadi preaches on his horn, Sun Ra renders a magical Fela like sermon on the keyboard before the Arkestra horns bring in a wonderfully polyphonic theme, one of the many Disciplines I believe. 

The splendid voice of June Tyson leads the Arkestra toward a mantra as she respectively narrates Sun Ra’s proclamation, ‘Somebody Else’s Idea’ (also known as Ah-ah). As the Arkestra weaves through the venue we hear the Great John Gilmore set the Sun Ra rhythm on the drums: Sun Ra’s Concert Master setting the proper groove. 

The Arkestra chants, ‘Somebody else’s idea of somebody else’s world, is not my idea of things as they are’ throughout the venue, joined by Sun Ra himself at the microphone, establishing clearly that this song reflects His exact sentiment and world view. Drawing the first segment of Live in Paris 1971 to a fine decrescendo and pause. 

Live in Paris continues with Sun Ra’s crowd pleaser ‘Watusi.’ His composition giving full reign to the Arkestra as an African Drum Choir fully featuring his array of phenomenal Dancers, and percussionists; exorted by the Fire Eater Math Samba; Imagine three angels of Dance; June Tyson, Efay Tayo, and Hazoume writhing across the stage with leaps, turns, and twists. The epitomy of’ Angels and Demons at Play’ in mythic delight – marionettes to the bidding of the Ra, contortioning in supersonic speed in duet with the dazzling array of contrapuntal melody and rhythm from the Arkestra. 

Listen while you have the chance … find your place amongst the stars … get in to an outer world rhythm, multiplicity of Harmony, equations of Melody … arise and seek … Astro Black and Cosmo Dark. 

Sun Ra - 1998 - Black Myth / Out In Space

Sun Ra
1998
Black Myth / Out In Space 


  Black Myth 
101. Black Forest Myth 3:58
102. Friendly Galaxy No. 2 5:25
103. Journey Through The Outer Darkness 12:58
104. Strange Worlds - Black Myth - It's After The End Of The World 15:18
105. We'll Wait For You 10:13
  Out In Space 
201. Out In Space 37:45
202. Discipline Series 3:28
203. Walkin' On The Moon... 9:02
204. Outer Space Where I Come From (Recitation) 0:23
205. Watusa  2:44
206. Myth Versus Reality 14:59
207. Theme Of The Stargazers 0:42
208. Space Chants Medley (Second Stop Is Jupiter - Why Go To The Moon - Neptun - Mercury - Venus - Mars - Jupiter - Saturn - Uranus - Pluto) 5:42
209. We Travel The Spaceways 3:02

Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Percussion – Absholom Ben Shlomo
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo Flute, Oboe, Percussion – Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bassoon, Flute – Danny Thompson*
Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Percussion – Pat (Laurdine) Patrick*
Bass – Alejandro Blake Fearon
Bass Clarinet – Robert Cummings
Clavinet, Synthesizer, Keyboards, Organ, Voice, Written-By – Sun Ra
Drums, Congas – Rashid Salim IV
Drums, Percussion – Lex Humphries
English Horn – Al Batin Nur
French Horn – Robert Northern
Oboe, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon – Eloe Omoe
Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Drums – James Jackson
Percussion [African], Other [Dance] – Math Samba
Percussion [African], Xylophone [Balafone], Other [Dance, Fire Eating] – Roger Aralamon Hazoumé
Percussion, Drum [Handdrums] – Nimrod Hunt
Percussion, Other [Dance] – Ife Tayo
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Kwame Hadi
Trumpet, Mellophone – Akh Tal Ebah
Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass – Alan Silva
Vocals, Other [Dance] – June Tyson

Black Myth recorded live at the Donaueschingen Musik Festival, Stadthalle, October 17, 1970.
Out In Space recorded live at the Berlin Jazz Festival, Kongresshalle, November 7, 1970.


Spectacular, wild double from two live 1970 dates in Germany. Black Myth, from Donaueschingen on October 17th, provides lots of up front horn madness throughout from the usual Gilmore-Allen-Patrick front line, augmented here by Danny Davis and Danny Thompson. But Sun Ra also turns in spectacular synthesizer solos (especially on the lead track), and June Tyson is by this time an indispensable part of the Arkestra. A difficult one for those who find freer music unpleasant listening, but a superb one for those prepared to meet the challenge. And after listening to the wonderful Black Myth I was shocked to find that Out in Space from two weeks later in Berlin, was even better. The opening title track, which goes on for nearly 40 minutes, is perhaps the best extended Sun Ra piece I've ever heard, starting at a fever pitch and never letting go for an instant. There are wild horn charts and solos, synth solos, even some beautiful acoustic piano (that of course edges up into something altogether more challenging), and much more throughout the length of the piece. It would seem that everything after would inevitably be anti-climactic, but it's never that easy with Ra. Next up there's some pieces from his "Discipline" series, then a great version of "Walking on the Moon," a couple more tracks and then another lengthy piece (15 minutes or so) called "Myth Versus Reality" that begins with a recitation and builds slowly into a typically wild and free number before the disc closes out with two signature chants. Both discs are excellently recorded and full of brilliant music, but they're not easy going.


With nearly 165 minutes of music, the 2-CD set captures the incredible performance art of Sun Ra and the improvisational splendor of the Arkestra to make every concert a sonic experience, with a personal message.

Released in December 1998, the first CD - Black Myth - is paced by Black Forest Myth and We'll Wait For You. Out In Space finds Sun Ra stretching themes within an avant-garde soundscape, as Myth Versus Reality and Theme of the Stargazers are pathways to Space Chants Medley and We Travel the Spaceways.

The quenching of thirst through knowledge gained for the mind, body and soul are brought forth by the musical majesty of Sun Ra.

Sun Ra - 2008 - The Universe Sent Me

Sun Ra
2008
The Universe Sent Me
The Lost Reel Collection Volume 5



01. Outer Spaceways Incorporated
02. Untitled Improvisation
03. Discipline 27 (Instrumental Only)
04. The Universe Sent Me
05. Discipline 99
06. Watusi
07. Untitled Improvisation

Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Marshall Allen
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Bass Clarinet – Eloe Omoe
Keyboards, Vocals – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone, Vocals, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Akh Tal Ebah, Kwame Hadi
Vocals – June Tyson

Tracks 1-3
July 9, 1972
South Street Seaport Museum, NYC

Tracks 4-7
September 8, 1973
Paris France


Imagine the suspense and anticipation one would feel when loading a 1970s Sun Ra reel onto a deck for the first time in more that 30 years & not knowing what to expect. As the tape starts, familiar sounds of the Arkestra begin to be heard from that magical time period so long ago. There is a great sense of relief and accomplishment to know music that laid dormant for far too long, and was from one of the most original creators ever, would now be preserved for all to finally hear. Volume 5 of The Lost Reel Collection features music from two separate tapes. The first tape is from a 1972 short recording at the Seaport Museum in New York City. The acoustics sound like an outdoor concert. The featured track is Discipline 27-ll, which is purely instrumental and may be the earliest recording of this particular version. In 1973, Ra declamations like 'Life is Splendid' and 'What Planet Is This?' were added on top of the music theme. The second tape is from a 1973 recording in Paris, France. Although the acoustics are quite different, it's a natural segue from the Seaport Museum tape. Opening with the Discipline 27-ll theme and the by-now more familiar declamation there which we title as The Universe Sent Me with this release. The beauty of the 'reed' section is clearly heard during this track due to the apparent close proximity of the tape machine and the microphone setup. Once again, as with the first 4 volumes of The Lost Reel Collection, the listener is in for a real treat.

The continuing series of unreleased tapes from a variety of sources really heats up with a pair of sizzling performances from the early-1970s.

Tracks 1-3 were recorded from a July 9, 1972, concert at the South Street Seaport Museum (NYC), with tracks 4-7 from a September 8, 1973, gig in Paris, France.

The listener is tugged into the free jazz with music that is equally abrasive as melodic, with Sun Ra launching the Arkestra into the stratosphere through his fascinating work on the keyboards, with the horn section keeping pace with fantastic flurries that float between metallic and funk.

The Lost Reel collection is an excellent gaze into the genius of Sun Ra and the energy he shared with the audience and the rays of warmth he received in venues throughout the world.

Sun Ra - 2007 - Dance Of The Living Image

Sun Ra
2007
Dance Of The Living Image
The Lost Reel Collection Volume 4



101. Dance Of The Living Image 0:50
102. Unidentified Title 6:17
103. Sometimes I'm Happy 5:24
104. Astro Nation 3:43
105. Unidentified Title 7:13
106. Unidentified Title 17:06

201. Hard Hearted Hannah (Instrumental)  21:47
202. Hard Hearted Hannah (Vocals) 8:50
203. Passin' Gas 0:55
204. Sophisticated Lady 14:24
205. (Slow) Watusi 4:59

Alto Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Danny Ray Thompson, Marshall Allen
Bass Clarinet, Vocals – Eloe Omoe
Drums – Clifford Jarvis
Electric Guitar – Dale Williams
Percussion – Atakatune, Damon Choice, James Jacson
Piano, Keyboards, Written-By – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Kwame Hadi
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals – Akh Tal Ebah

Rehearsal from December 1974, San Francisco area.


At this point in time, Sun Ra's music is not too widely separated from many genres of American music. Just about every music scene, in some way or form, owes a debt to the pursuits of him and the long-term members of his Arkestra. So many Jazz, Rock, Funk, Ambient, New Age, etc. artists utilize modes, elements or methods that Sun Ra had likely touched upon long beforehand. Of course, this is a well known and well documented fact. I can think of a few whole web-sites and at least one print zine that specialize in all things Ra. That said, I consider myself a long time fan of his music and cosmology, and look back with great fondness to the Arkestra show I attended at Slim's in San Francisco in the early 1990's. His music is always worth checking out, and very often worthy of return listens.
Dance of the Living Image consists of rehearsal recordings from a 1974 Arkestra residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is Volume 4 of a series called The Lost Reel Collection, issued by the label Transparency. To their credit, Transparency have let the tapes exist as recorded, having only done some remastering for the sake of improved sound quality. And how does it sound? Let's just say that if you're looking for the more frenetic Arkestra sounds, you will be disappointed. These recordings feature a band working out tunes at a very relaxed pace. This gives the CD's a nice, warm mood. Instrument sections weave in, sometimes drop out, and interact loosely. This is all done with Ra leading from his electric organ. He plays chord changes or themes, and then lets the band vamp around them. During the longer vamps, the listener can be easily pulled into the trance states that live Arkestra performances so effectively induced.
Ra sounds really cool in his band leading approach. If there were any Buddy Rich-style control freakouts, they did not make it onto this tape. Background dialog can be heard at times, presumably coming from various players as they figure their parts out, but there are never any admonitions from the leader to shut up. He just keeps playing, occasionally calling out chord changes.
His organ playing is cool and spacey, both in the way notes are played in sequence and in the cosmic tones he coaxes from it. It seems to me that he spent a lot of time investigating tonal combinations and chord sequences. I'll take Sun Ra's Music of the Spheres over just about any other composer's. I can imagine a day when his pieces will be performed by symphonies as such.
Other sound delights come from the classic, and for Ra, indispensable, horns of John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, and Eloe Omoe. These smart, talented, men, who stayed with Sun Ra for so long, give huge validation to his prowess as a band leader. On Dance of the Living Image, you can hear them work out their chemistry, and it's a glorious sound. Rich, thick, heavy saxophones, played spacey and stately by Ra's dependable crew.
Despite the fact that he was sometimes derided as an Avant Garde huckster (see if you can find Abbey Lincoln's lowest common denominator description of Ra and try not to wretch), one thing that set him aside from the Avant Garde was his rhythmic sensibility. Most Arkestra tunes and recordings feature drumming and bass playing that is really simple in it's approach. Unlike in the Avant or even in Be-Bop, Sun Ra slowed down and really simplified the rhythm section's playing. Depending on your tastes, this can be annoying or sublime. I'm obviously inclined to go with the latter feeling. Living Image is filled with tranced-out, primitive drumming and bass playing, and it's really great.This approach grounds the tunes and vamps wonderfully, all the while giving the listener a pulse to follow. Sun Ra's simple conception here works in an almost Rock fashion.
Speaking of Rock, there is even some great electric guitar playing on Disc One of this two disc set. The player gets a nice wah-wah sound going, reminiscent of Ron Ashton at his most spaced-out moments on the first Stooges record (imagine what Scott and Ron Ashton could have done with Sun Ra!). It's a great addition to the sound, and I wish there were more of it on the discs.
Dance of the Living Image most likely would not interest the casual Jazz fan, but anyone interested in Sun Ra's repertoire, or the process of creating music for that matter, would have a lot to appreciate there. I plan on checking out a lot more stuff from Transparency.

The Sun Ra catalog is so vast - during his lifetime and posthumously - that it is oftentimes difficult to locate a starting point or the path in which to continue the journey.

This December 2007 release is part of the Lost Reel Collection, which is recordings from a variety of sources that chronicle aspects of Sun Ra's career which amazingly may not have been previously available.

Taken from sessions in December 1974 in San Francisco, this is Sun Ra and a number of musicians trying out new material or tweaking numbers which may be familiar with fans. Sometimes I'm Happy features Sun Ra on vocal, while Watusi is a slow "alternate" take. Sophisticated Lady has a wonderful elegance.

The eight numbers show musicians capturing a full range of emotions, with Sun Ra directing the performance. It has a feeling of a live show and focuses on an important aspect of Sun Ra which needs to be heard to be appreciated.

This fourth two-CD volume of lost reel-to-reel rehearsal sessions from Sun Ra, done in the vicinity of San Francisco in December of 1974, continues to reveal the inner workings and unpolished, raw dynamics of a band playing with material that in the '70s would garner them an audience unique to jazz, progressive rock, or the then emerging jazz-rock fusion movement. What you hear is Ra incorporating all of those elements for future usage in larger arenas to a bigger audience that was not bound to strict convention, and hungry for new and old music combined. This is what Sun Ra did best. Though in most instances ragged, unfinished, and stopped at will, you hear the enfolded music as encouraged by Ra's verbal suggestions and democratic bandsmanship. You do hear the thin sound and distant cues and wowed tape, but also the laughter and good feeling the band shared while experimenting. It's not good radio fare, but it's interesting to any fan who might be intrigued by how the group came together, making music from scratch. The first CD has Ra on the electric rocksichord for the practice take of "Dance of the Living Image," laying out modal repeated themes, stopping and starting to get the right feeling, and stretching out. There's a dramatic, low-key, spooky, and near macabre vocal by Ra on "Sometimes I'm Happy," a raw version of what would be come a signature tune "Astro Nation" with vocal chanting, and an experiment juxtaposing melodies of "Bag's Groove" and "Footprints" with an Egyptian three-note pulse. The feature on the second CD is a 30-plus minute near drunken or stoned, fun and silly, repetitive workout of "Hard Hearted Hannah" identified by a maddeningly insistent R&B saxophone groove, repeated and eventual alternate chorus vocal line that goes on and on and incessantly on. A sweet version of "Sophisticated Lady," which may be the first recorded instance of Ra's using this rustic Duke Ellington melody, and "Watusi," a longtime familiar flute and horn section-driven 6/8 jungle theme of Ra's, but with new updated changes. Personnel info is spotty, but mainstays Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Danny Thompson, Eloe Omoe, Clifford Jarvis, and vibraphonist Damon Choice are surely in the band. A purchase for only die-hard fans and connoisseurs, it completes the package the Transparency label offers into the underground scenarios Ra worked hard to conceive and conjure before taking them to the concert stage.

Sun Ra - 2007 - The Shadows Took Shape

Sun Ra
2007
The Shadows Took Shape
The Lost Reel Collection Volume 3



101. Outer Spae/Untitled Improvisation 18:01
102. Stardust From Tomorrow 5:40
103. Exotic Forest 16:20
104. Untitled Improvisation 2:24
105. Shadow World 5:54

201. Untitled Improvisation 13:54
202. Strange Worlds/Untitled Improvisation 6:36
203. Enlightenment 2:40
204. Outer Spaceways Incorporated 2:02
205. Prepare For The Journey To Other Worlds 7:39
206. The Shadows Took Shape 2:24
207. Friendly Galaxy/Watusi 12:39

Alto Saxophone – Danny Ray Thompson, Larry Northington
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Marshall Allen
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Danny Davis
Baritone Saxophone, Bass – Pat Patrick
Bass Clarinet – Eloe Omoe
Drums – Aye Aton, Harry Richards
Drums, Percussion – Lex Humphries
Keyboards, Vocals, Written-By – Sun Ra
Mastered By – Brian Albers
Percussion – Alzo Wright, Atakatune, Odun
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals – John Gilmore
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals – Akh Tal Ebah
Trumpet, Percussion – Kwami Hadi
Vocals – June Tyson



This recording is from a concert during the early 1970's. There is no further information on this recording, except that the original reel tape was labeled as "Spacemaster Concert". June Tyson recites "The Shadows Took Shape", a Sun Ra poem never heard or seen until now.

The LOST REEL series of previously unreleased Sun Ra recordings, mostly recorded in the 1970s in California, are like manna from heaven for Ra mavens. THE SHADOWS TOOK SHAPE, the third volume in the series, was discovered in a tape can simply labeled "Spacemaster Concert," and it lives up to that interstellar title. Like much of Sun Ra's best work, it mixes Ellington-on-acid jazz orchestrations with mindblowing layers of freer-than-free sonic exploration spiced with touches of cosmic exotica.

The third volume in the Lost Reel Collection is one mysterious recording from the vast vault of Sun Ra; the performance was found on a tape with the title, Spacemaster Concert. It was recorded on an undetermined date in the early-1970s and has a metallic quality due to Sun Ra's electric keyboards, which retains an free jazz quality, though the tones are much noisier.

The vocals of June Tyson are impeccable, with the standout selections being Exotic Forest, Shadow World and Friendly Galaxy/Watusi. There remains a number of questions surrounding the recording that may never be solved. This is truly something out of lost-and-found, with the waiting being the hardest part.
7k2pm9t/6480.rar

Sun Ra - 2007 - Intergalactic Research

Sun Ra
2007
Intergalactic Research
The Lost Reel Collection Volume 2


  Native Son, Berkeley, CA, Circa Summer 1971
01. Untitled Improvisation 10:18
02. Strange Worlds/It's After The End Of The World/Outer Spaceways Incorporated/Why Go To The Moon 6:25
03. Untitled Improvisation 5:05
  Intergalactic Research, Location Unknown, Circa 1972
04. Moog 3:28
05. Outer Space 7:18
06. Untitled 6:51
07. Intergalactic Research 14:11


Alto Saxophone – Danny Ray Thompson (4 to 7), Larry Northington (1 to 3), Marshall Allen
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Danny Davis, Danny Ray Thompson
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Danny Davis (tracks: 1 to 3)
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Oboe, Piccolo Flute – Marshall Allen (tracks: 1 to 3)
Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Pat Patrick
Bass – Ronnie Boykins (tracks: 4 to 7)
Clarinet – Pat Patrick (tracks: 4 to 7)
Drums – Tommy Hunter
Keyboards – Sun Ra
Mastered By – Brian Albers
Oboe – Augustus Browning (tracks: 1 to 3)
Percussion – Alzo Wright (tracks: 4 to 7), Atakatune (tracks: 4 to 7), Ken Moshesh (tracks: 1 to 3), Nimrod Hunt (tracks: 1 to 3), Odun (tracks: 4 to 7)
Percussion, Cello – Alzo Wright (tracks: 1 to 3)
Percussion, Flute, Oboe – James Jacson (tracks: 1 to 3)
Photography By – Lee Santa
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – John Gilmore
Trombone – Charles Stephens (tracks: 4 to 7)
Trumpet – Akh Tal Ebah, Kwami Hadi
Vocals – June Tyson, Ruth Wright (tracks: 1 to 3), Sun Ra (tracks: 1 to 3)


Two live performances from separate tapes by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. This is classic Ra at one of his strongest periods of time for the band. Intergalactic Research is a fully developed piece never previously released. There are only two other know unreleased recordings of this spectacular piece.

Part of an ongoing series of releasing tapes from a variety of sources, the 57:07 features seven selections from a pair of concerts; Berkeley 1971 and an unknown location in 1972.

A few ticks over 24 minutes comprise the three pieces from Berkeley, with saxophonist John Gilmore delivering an amazing solo on Untitled Improvisation and vocalist June Tyson taking center stage in a four-song sequence - but considered one number - that begins with Strange Worlds.

The 1972 concert is Sun Ra at his experimental best - Moog, Outer Space - with The Arkestra in full flight on an untitled track and Intergalactic Research.

The Sun Ra concerts were very special experiences for the audience and this 2007 release takes the listener back to a time when a special connection was achieved through ground-breaking free jazz.

Like another great innovative jazz bandleader, Duke Ellington, the mercurial Sun Ra led a dizzying array of ensembles through countless performances and recordings that daunt even the most devout completists, but the LOST REEL series manages to unearth some great, previously unheard live and rehearsal tapes, mostly of early-1970s West Coast vintage. INTERGALACTIC RESEARCH, a '71 Berkeley concert recording that also includes some '72 material, finds Ra's cosmic keyboards interacting brilliantly with the post-Coltrane sax fury of John Gilmore and the otherworldly soul of vocalist June Tyson.

Sun Ra - 2007 - The Creator Of The Universe

Sun Ra
2007
The Creator Of The Universe
The Lost Reel Collection Volume One 



  Warehouse, San Francisco, June 10, 1971
101. Discipline (?)
102. Unidentified Title (Ra Declamation With Musical Exchanges With The Arkestra)
103. Unidentified Title (Percussion With Trombone)
104. Unidentified Title (Percussion Into Ra Moog Solo)
105. Satellites Are Spinning
106. Enlightenment (Cuts Out)
  3rd Class, UC Berkeley, May 4, 1971
201. (Cuts In) Sun Ra Lectures

No lineup information on the cd, but it should be the usual during this 1971 period.



If you are like me and already have a large Ra collection, this should be your next addition. A bunch of great material is still coming out, whether reissues of obscure Saturn studio albums or concert recordings. While I can truly say I've never heard a Ra recording that was less than interesting, few at this point are radically different than the Ra I've known and loved for 35 years. But as the folks who issued "The Creator Of The Universe" say, "This is a Sun Ra album like no other!", and they are right.

The first disc of this set is highlighted by an incendiary call-and-response between Ra and the Arkestra, recorded in performance in 1971. I've never heard anything like it, either on the 50 or so Ra LPs and CDs in my collection or during my years of experiencing Ra in concert. This-- as well as the bulk of the disc 1 material-- is the "outside" Ra, beloved to many of us, but probably not the place to start for the uninitiated.

Disc 2 is a recording of a Ra lecture at UC Berkeley from the same year. The topics are weighty, but the touch is light, demonstrating Ra's love for wordplay and his use of humor in approaching personal and societal issues that are really quite profound. Though you may not cue this one up often, it is a great companion to Ra's musical output.

This set is a must for the Ra collector, but the newly curious should look elsewhere, perhaps the "Montreux Concert" for a particularly broad Ra experience.

Volume one in a new series entitled The Lost Reel Collection, and this one is the holy grail of Sun Ra history! Two-CD set of the Arkestra playing live in a SF warehouse in 1971, and a lecture by Ra from his legendary 1971 residency at UC Berkeley. Recently the Transparency label was approached with a collection of eleven reel-to-reel tapes of previously unknown Sun Ra recordings. None of this material is on any tape trader list or in any discography. The recordings are all super-high-quality and are being officially released on the Transparency label. Both discs of The Creator of the Universe are from mid-1971. Disc One is a concert at a warehouse in San Francisco, the centerpiece of which is a very dramatic and intense 20 minute Declamation by Ra urging the black race to rise up into freedom and identity, punctuated by the horns of the Arkestra. Completely amazing, this piece is ranked by one aficionado as the peak of Ra's career. Disc Two is one of the classes given by Ra during his teaching residency at UC Berkeley. This is a Sun Ra album like no other!

Disc one is recorded in mono. Disc two is a stereo recording of one of the classes given by Sun Ra during his teaching residency at UC Berkeley. This class was known as both Sun Ra 171 and The Black Man In The Cosmos. Original tapes are 1/2 track recorded at 7 1/2 ips.

Aptly titled, The Creator of the Universe features previously unreleased, live Sun Ra material from the early '70s that represents the futuristic musical cosmology of one of jazz's great innovators. The first installation in the Lost Reel series -- comprising a set of recordings (discovered in the 2000s) of Sun Ra rehearsing, performing live, and speaking -- this two-disc set is a treasure trove for collectors. Disc one captures a warehouse concert from 1971, while the second disc (and this is a special treat) features recordings from the same period of Sun Ra lecturing during his teaching residency at UC Berkeley.