In the winter months of 1977-1978, philosopher, pianist and bandleader Sun Ra was in Italy. The Italian tour resulted in releases on Sun Ra's own Saturn label, all of which have long been out of print and all but impossible to find. With the re-release of DISCO 3000 one of the most celebrated of these elusive Saturn gems is once more available. This release, and it's companion MEDIA DREAMS, capture a side of Sun Ra's work - small ensemble, close form, original composition, rather minimal - that is otherwise under-represented.
Three slices of work from the Sun Ra Arkestra – all recorded at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto in 1978, and presented here as a massive 10 CD package! The format is great – as the set offers up the full concert performance from each night, not just a handful of songs – and each date in the package is represented with 3CDs of music, so that together the whole thing spans almost 8 hours in length! Performances are from March 13, September 27, and November 4, 1978 – and the set also features a bonus CD that includes a 1968 interview on WBAI. And the recording quality is great!
The complete document of a rare Finnish performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra – material recorded in Helsinki on October 14, 1971 – presented here in a 2CD package. The CDs feature both the first and second sets of the evening – and the material was recorded by the Finnish broadcasting company, so the quality is pretty good – well-recorded, and with as much clarity as some of the better-known live Arkestra albums of the time. The group's in wonderful form – a fairly large lineup, given the Scandinavian trip – and they run through modes that are spacey, spiritual, and straight. Players include Kwame Hadi, Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, James Jacson, Pat Patrick, Danny Davis, and Danny Ray Thompson – and June Tyson sings some really wonderful vocals on the record too.
The rare Space Probe sent out to the cosmos by Sun Ra in the mid 70s – with material recorded from the early 60s onward – the heart of it being Sun Ra's first ever recordings on a moog synthesizer in 1969, and it's one heck of a trip! This excellent edition on Art Yard includes the material from the original Saturn release – the epic, nearly 18 minute interstellar trip that is the title track – with Sun Ra crafting hallucinatory moog magic throughout it. He shifts gears on "Earth Primitive Earth" (the complete version), an earlier recording, as much influenced by ancient sounds as futuristic ones, with hand drums for the beat and bass clarinet by John Gilmore. The closing "Conversion Of JP" is the other holdover from the earlier Space Probe LP and it's another gem steeped in primitivism, believed to feature Marshall Allen on flute (sure sounds like him to us).
The late Sun Ra used to have his own record label. It was called Saturn and it was used to release records that the band took with them to concerts. So every time when the Arkestra left for a series of concerts, they took the boxes of the Saturn records with them. When they ran out of records, they printed new runs, often meaning that they would use new recordings, sometimes mixing them with material that already had been released. One print-run usually was about 300 copies. The result is an immense and very complex discography.
Thirteen hours of unreleased and ultra-rare music. The Eternal Myth Revealed is a 14 disc docu-biography of Ra's life and career, from his birth in 1914 up to 1959. In addition to his own music, it includes music he was influenced by, and a lot of stuff he may or may not have had a hand in as arranger, vocal coach, pianist or something else. Sun Ra's output was as prolific as Ellington's, and discographers have had nightmares and arguments attempting to document it accurately.
When the sun rose on Sun Ra in the mid-20th century, his innovative style cast a shining light that spurred the development of modern jazz and other forms of popular music. What would Sun Ra have made of today’s music scene? If he is looking down from his cosmic realm, he’ll be pleased to know that his music from the past still sounds eerily futuristic. Enjoy three original albums on three CDs: Super-Sonic Jazz, Jazz By Sun Ra and Jazz In Silhouette.
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.