This CD should be essential for anyone who is a fan of Sun Ra. It is a live concert from Soundscape (recorded on November 11, 1979), featuring such classics as "Astro Black" "Discipline 27," and "Space is the Place," among many others. While the concert could have been recorded or mixed a little better (some of the vocals and instruments are occasionally hard to hear), the performance is brilliant. Mr. Ra, June Tyson, John Gilmore et al. really give the music a vitality that is inspirational and at times staggeringly beautiful.
Sun Ra's orchestra was at its most radical for Outer Spaceways Incorporated, alternating simple chants with very outside playing and dense ensembles. While the sidemen include such notables as Marshall Allen and Danny Davis on altos, baritonist Pat Patrick, John Gilmore on tenor, bassist Ronnie Boykins, and percussionist Clifford Jarvis, most of the other players in the 15-piece band (such as trumpeters Ahk Tal Ebah and Kwame Hadi) slipped back into obscurity after this. The music is quite intriguing, although it requires an open mind and a sense of humor to fully appreciate.
Add equal parts Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, ’60s psychedelia, and Talking Heads’ Remain in Light-era poly-rhythmic Afrobeat, sprinkle a dash of ’70s disco with a chaser of Flaming Lips on-stage spectacle fun, then mix it one tall glass and you have the original sound of the Golden Dawn Arkestra. This is an intoxicating brew that’s best taken in doses long and slow, with a steady infectious beat.
Fire Wind is the second album released by Electric Sun. Electric Sun was a heavy metal formed by Uli Jon Roth after his departure from the Scorpions in 1978. They recorded three albums between 1979 and 1985. The first album, Earthquake, was released in 1979 and features guitarist/vocalist Roth, bassist Ule Ritgen and drummer Clive Edwards. Edwards departed quickly after recording the first album. Fire Wind came next in 1981, featuring new drummer Sidhatta Gautama. The band toured for a few years afterwards. While the first two albums were a trio format, the third album was more of an ensemble project.
Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen presents Sun Ra classics and rarities. Includes previously unreleased track 'Trying To Put The Blame On Me' + previously unissued versions of 'Reflects Motion' and 'Island In The Sun'. As the longest-tenured member of the Arkestra (55-plus years and counting as of 2014), there is no one with a deeper understanding of the music of Sun Ra than Marshall Allen, and that's part of what makes In the Orbit of Ra such a special collection. The Arkestra's long history is often divided into musical/geographic periods or spoken of as a progression from inside to outside playing. This set spans from the late '50s to the late '70s but the non-chronological sequencing shows how artificial those stylistic boundaries are.
Much like Evidence's Fate in a Pleasant Mood/When Sun Comes Out two-fer, We Travel the Spaceways/Bad and Beautiful also features one album from the Chicago period and one from the New York period. The difference is that this New York session (Bad and Beautiful) is probably the first recording made in New York, and the overall sound is more closely tied to the Chicago sound than the later New York material, where rhythm and percussion dominated any melodic elements.
This is the second recording by BIS of Sally Beamish’s music, and the four pieces it contains confirm utterly her high standing. Her work is thoughtfully lyrical, intense, individual, instinctively dramatic, in ways that remind me somewhat of Nicholas Mawmusic. Like him she has a particular gift for expressive harmony and timbre. The earliest piece here is No, I’m not afraid (1989), six poignant poems written from prison by Irina Ratushinskaya spoken – by Beamish herself – against sparse but hugely effective instrumental backgrounds and interspersed with five purely instrumental interludes. The disc opens with The Caledonian Road of 1997. The name of this piece refers not just to the north London thoroughfare remembered by Beamish from childhood but to her own pilgrimage northward to Scotland, where she now lives. The music resonates with a sense of ritual, of something inevitable. By contrast, the work that follows, the unabashedly poetic The Day Dawn (written for a summer school organised by Contemporary Music-making for Amateurs in 1997, and revised in 2000) derives from a Shetland fiddle tune, and is all about new beginnings. And finally there’s the saxophone concerto The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone (1999), whose starting point is a Swedish herding call – used as a kind of ritornello – but which is drenched in a plethora of references primeval, religious, mystical and contemporary, music at once hard and soft edged. Fine playing from the soloist, John Harle, in this work and throughout the disc by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Ola Rudner.
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One of the finest Sun Ra recordings from his final years, this effort is particularly recommended due to the many Ra keyboard solos and John Gilmore features, the latter of which include a tenor showcase on "Opus In Springtime." Trumpeters Michael Ray and Ahmed Abdullah, altoist Marshall Allen and singer June Tyson also have their spots, and the repertoire consists of ten Ra originals (including a remake of "El Is the Sound of Joy") and three standard ballads. Overall, this is a fine all-around studio set. Recommended.