Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sun Ra - 1973 - Horizon

Sun Ra 

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.