Monday, September 2, 2019

Sun Ra - 1973 - Live in Paris at the Gibus

Sun Ra
Live in Paris at the Gibus

01. Spontaneous Simplicity 4:04
02. Lights on a Satellite 5:31
03. Ombre Monde #2 (Shadow World) 12:17
04. King Porter Stomp 2:53
05. Salutations from the Universe 14:55
06. Calling Planet Earth 1:28

Alto Clarinet – Danny Davis
Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis, Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Danny Thompson
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Bass Clarinet – Elo Omoe
Bassoon – James Jackson
Cello, Viola – Alzo Wright
Congas – Odun, Shahib
Drums – Alzo Wright, John Gilmore, Thomas Hunter
Flugelhorn – Akh Tal Ebah, Kwame Hadi
Flute – Danny Davis, Danny Thompson, Elo Omoe, James Jackson
Keyboards [Electronic Keyboard Space Instruments], Synthesizer [Moog], Voice – Sun Ra
Other [Dancer] – Aralamon Hazoume
Other [Fire Eater] – Math Samba
Percussion – James Jackson, Math Samba, Odun, Aralamon Hazoume, Shahib
Piccolo Flute, Oboe – Marshall Allen
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Akh Tal Ebah, Kwame Hadi
Vibraphone [Balafon] – Aralamon Hazoume
Vocals [Space Ethnic Voices] – Cheryl Banks
Voice [Space Ethnic Voices] – Judith Holton, June Tyson, Ruth Wright

Live at The Gibus, Paris, October 1973.

Sun Ra (organ/electric vibraphone/space instruments/synthesizer/vocals) and his Intergalactic Space Research Arkestra are captured live in October of 1973 on this essential disc. Not only are the sides uniformly inspired, but the track list bears a few interesting diversions, including seminal examples of Ra as both a performer and unequaled arranger. The mid-tempo dreamy and languid opener, "Spontaneous Simplicity," evolves around Ra's sublime organ and electric vibe runs. He places those against an unforced and otherwise limber wash of hand percussion as well as the understated yet solid pulse of Ronnie Boykins' bass. Ra's emphatic electric organ inflections herald the introduction to what is arguably the most haunting and poignant reading of "Lights on a Satellite" readily available. The flute section -- featuring Marshall Allen (alto sax/oboe/flute/piccolo), Danny Davis (alto sax/flute/alto clarinet), Danny Ray Thompson (baritone sax/flute), James Jacson (bassoon/flute/percussion), and Eloe Omoe (bass clarinet/flute) -- reel an edgy and trance-inducing melody into their sinuous lines. The entire affair simmers just below some glistens from Ra and a sax solo by John Gilmore (tenor sax/percussion). "Ombre Monde" (aka "Shadow World") dates back to the mid-'60s and allows Allen a platform for an extended lead that is sonically spurred on by Ra's motivated electric piano. Akh Tal Ebah's trumpet aggressions also make this version stand out. The truly phenomenal cover of Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" is a progressive score that builds on work done by Fletcher Henderson's definitive version. The Arkestra's compact presentation is stunning and Ra's complex score makes this flawless rendering all the more improbable. The bandleader offers up a vocal cosmic greeting on "Salutations From the Universe" which is swirled in an onslaught from the full ensemble. Ra's forceful keyboards are countered by some sharp and incisive contributions from the Arkestra. This segues into the benedictory "Calling Planet Earth" chant that is free jazz madness at its most effective. June Tyson's (vocals) voice can be picked out among the participants before Ra's brief solo conclusion. Although initially only pressed as a hard-to-find French import, Live in Paris at the Gibus was issued on CD in 2003 and is a highly recommended title for inclined parties.

Sun Ra - 1973 - Discipline 27-II

Sun Ra
Discipline 27-II

01. Pan Afro 07:52
02. Discipline 8 07:49
03. Neptune 05:42
04. Discipline 27-II Parts 1-4 24:06

Recorded at Streeterville Studios, Chicago, October 19–20, 1972

Sun Ra: piano, space organ [Farfisa], Minimoog, Rocksichord, vocal dramatizing
Akh Tal Ebah: trumpet, flugelhorn, space dimension mellophone, space ethnic voice
Lamont McClamb [Kwame Hadi]: trumpet, percussion
Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute, percussion
Danny Davis: alto sax, flute, alto clarinet, percussion
Larry Northington: alto sax, conga, percussion
John Gilmore: tenor sax, drums, space ethnic voice
Pat Patrick: tenor sax, baritone sax, flute, electric bass, vocals
Danny Ray Thompson: baritone sax, flute, libflecto, percussion, vocals
Eloe Omoe: bass clarinet, flute, percussion
Lex Humphries: drums percussion
Robert Underwood [Aye Aton]: drums
Harry Richards: drums, percussion
Alzo Wright: drums, percussion
Stanley Morgan [Atakatune]: conga, percussion
Russell Branch [Odun]: conga, percussion
June Tyson, Ruth Wright, Cheryl Banks, Judith Holton: space ethnic voices

Discipline 27-II was recorded in 1972, a product of the same sessions that would yield Sun Ra's legendary Space Is the Place LP. The recordings took place October 19–20 at Streeterville Studios, Chicago, featuring the largest Arkestra line-up Ra had taken into a studio. The date was produced by Impulse! and Riverside veteran Ed Michel.

There have been several atrocious-sounding bootleg editions on the market, but this 2017 fully authorized remaster reveals the rich clarity of these sessions. This edition was remastered for Strut Records by Peter Beckmann from the original master tapes in the Sun Ra Music Archive, under license from Sun Ra LLC.

On the original 1972 Saturn version released by Sun Ra, the 24-minute title track was inexplicably divided into four separate tracks at arbitrary points, thus interrupting the flow of the work. On this remastered edition, the title track has been restored to its proper length without interruption.

The LP version, released by Strut for Record Store Day 2017, features complete original artwork, full roster of players on each track, and new sleeve notes by Francis Gooding.

A CD edition was issued in October 2017 by Corbett vs. Dempsey Records.

Sun Ra - 1973 - Space Is The Place

Sun Ra 
Space Is The Place

01. Space Is The Place
02. Images
03. Discipline 33
04. Sea Of Sound
05. Rocket Number Nine

Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis, Larry Northington, Marshall Allen
Baritone Saxophone – Danny Thompson, Pat Patrick
Bass – Pat Patrick
Bass Clarinet – Eloe Omoe
Congas – Russell Branch, Stanley Morgan
Drums – Alzo Wright, Harry Richards, John Gilmore, Robert Underwood
Flugelhorn – Akh Tal Ebah
Flute – Danny Davis, Danny Thompson, Marshall Allen
Percussion – Lamont McClamb, Lex Humphries, Russell Branch, Stanley Morgan
Piano, Organ [Space], Synthesizer [Moog] – Sun Ra
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore
Trumpet – Akh Tal Ebah, Lamont McClamb
Vocals – Akh Tal Ebah, John Gilmore
Voice [Space Ethnic Voices] – Cheryl Banks, Judith Holton, June Tyson, Ruth Wright

Recorded October 19th 1972 at Streeterville Recording Studio, Chicago, Illinois.

Mixed at Village Recorder, Los Angeles, California.

Gatefold inner cover contains poems from the book "The Immeasurable Equation" by Sun Ra.

Diferent recording that the soundtrack of the film "Space is the Place".

Space Is the Place provides an excellent introduction to Sun Ra's vast and free-form jazz catalog. Typical of many Sun Ra recordings, the program is varied; earthbound songs, like the swing number "Images" and Egyptian exotica piece "Discipline," fit right in with more space-age cuts, like the tumultuous "Sea of Sounds" and the humorous "Rocket Number Nine." Sun Ra fuses many of these styles on the sprawling title cut, as interlocking harmonies, African percussion, manic synthesizer lines, and joyous ensemble blowing all jell into some sort of church revival of the cosmos. Throughout the recording, Sun Ra displays his typically wide-ranging talents on space organ and piano, reed players John Gilmore and Marshall Allen contribute incisive and intense solos, and June Tyson masterfully leads the Space Ethnic Voices on dreamy vocal flights. This is a fine recording and a must for Sun Ra fans.

Sun Ra - 1973 - Astro Black

Sun Ra 
Astro Black

01. Astro Black 10:51
02. Discipline 99 04:42
03. Hidden Spheres 06:59
04. The Cosmo-Fire (Complete Version) 18:23

Sun Ra: Minimoog synthesizer, space organ, electro-vibraphone
June Tyson: lead vocals (1)
Ruth Wright: backing vocals (1)
Cheryl Banks: backing vocals (1)
Judith Holton: backing vocals (1)
John Gilmore: tenor sax, percussion
Danny Ray Thompson: baritone sax, bongos
Pat Patrick: mistro-clarinet
Marshall Allen: alto sax, oboe
Danny Davis: alto sax, flute
Akh Tal Ebah (Doug Williams): trumpet, mellophone
Kwame Hadi (Lamont McClamb): trumpet
Charles Stephens: trombone
Alzo Wright: violin, viola
Eloe Omoe: bass clarinet
Ronnie Boykins: bass
Tommy Hunter: drums
Atakatune (Stanley Morgan): conga
Odun (Russell Branch): conga
Chica: conga

All titles composed by Sun Ra

Recorded at El Saturn Studios, Chicago, May 7th. 1972

After years of self-releasing albums on his own Saturn label, Sun Ra signed with ABC's Impulse jazz imprint in 1972. A reissue series of earlier hard-to-find Saturn LPs was undertaken, along with a few new projects. The first premiere, Astro Black, was recorded and released in 1973 in the now-obsolete quadraphonic format (tho it was playable on stereo phonographs). The undertaking signaled a noble campaign on the part of Impulse producer Ed Michel to mainstream Sun Ra and broaden his audience, without any sacrifice of artistic integrity.

But the effort was doomed: the label suffered commercial losses on the project and lost faith in avant-garde space funk. Within two years, after corporate reshuffling (i.e., firings and hirings), ABC's Sun Ra project was abandoned. The company clipped the corners of the cardboard sleeves and dumped the lavishly illustrated gatefold LPs in record store discount bins (or as some disgruntled fans claimed, UNDER the bins). Yet the Sisyphean venture produced some worthwhile new music.

Astro Black was a return to quasi-accessibility, away (though not completely) from the anti-jazz experimentalism of the late 1960s, and toward synthesizer-driven space jams. The Arkestra's horn skronk was still prominent, but on side one of Astro Black it was largely anchored by the propulsive rhythm section of returning bassist Ronnie Boykins and drummer Tommy Hunter (along with a battalion of African percussion). With Sun Ra perched behind his Minimoog, this is very much a 1970s album. But as any listener will attest, it's also very much a Sun Ra album.

On the 11-minute title track, vocalist June Tyson croons a siren song above bassist Boykins' snaking groove. About 3-1/2 minutes in, the Arkestra achieves liftoff, after which they explore some free interplay the rest of the way.

"Discipline 99" is a loose, relaxed space walk with some fine ensemble work by the horns. The "Discipline" series, variously numbered and composed by Ra during the 1970s, were generally group-performed works which omitted solos; this recording is an exception, showcasing expressive offerings by John Gilmore (tenor sax), Akh Tal Ebah (trumpet), and the bandleader (electro-vibraphone). The percussion-heavy "Hidden Spheres" serves up some steamy African exotica, with Marshall Allen (alto sax), Kwame Hadi (trumpet), and Eloe Omoe (bass clarinet) intensifying the mood.

Side B of the LP (here track 4) consists of "The Cosmo-Fire," a sprawling 18-minute otherworldly affair of conducted Afro-futuristic improvisation unified by Boykins' inventive bass and punctuated by Sunny's synth and organ. The work provides an uncompromising contrast to the album's A-side, and proved that despite the major label upgrade, Sun Ra was intent on challenging his listeners.

There's a short chronicle of Ra's Impulse adventures in "The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse! Records," by Ashley Kahn. The book includes the following amusing anecdote by Ed Michel, in which he recalls his first Sun Ra mixing session in 1972: "I liked to mix at the pain threshold. It was really loud. We were mixing it quadraphonically in a relatively small room. Sun Ra was sleeping deep and snoring loud. For some reason, I stopped the tape in the middle of the tune. He came awake, wheeled his head like an owl does—all around the room, checking everything out. He said, 'You Earth people sleep too much.' He put his head down and started to snore again."