It's After The End Of The World
Live At The Donaueschingen And Berlin Festivals
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.