The Squid's Ear Magazine


Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra: The Antique Blacks (Art Yard)

Long-sought Saturn reissue from Sun Ra with a mid-size ensemble of some of his most prominent players, the electric side of Ra in amazing compositions mostly unique to this release.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Sun Ra-rocksichord, mini moog, vocals, declamation

John Gilmore-tenor sax, percussion, vocals

Marshall Allen-alto sax, percussion, vocals

Danny Davis-alto sax

Akh Tal Ebah-trumpet, vocals

Clifford Jarvis-drums, vocals

James Jackson-bassoon, percussion, vocals

Atakatune-congas

Sly-electric guitar


Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.




UPC: 752725027823

Label: Art Yard
Catalog ID: ArtyardCD010
Squidco Product Code: 12360

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded live on August 17, 1997 in Philadelphia. Originally released on the Saturn Label as catalog number 81774.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Another much sought after and long unavailable title recorded in 1974 with a smallish ensemble consisting (probably) of stalwarts Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Danny David, James Jacson, Akh Tal Ebah, Clifford Jarvis, Artakatune, and new electric guitarist, Sly, that was released on Saturn in the same year. This sounds like a studio recording, carefully thought out - most of the compositions appear only on this record (apart from versions of "Nature's God" and "Space is the Place"), and include a chain of very interesting accompanied /interpolated) spoken texts: "There is a Change in the Air", "The Antique Blacks", "The ridiculous "I" and the Cosmos "Me"" - as well as a very long and scary coda to "Space is the Place". Ra plays Rocksichord and Moog throughout (solo on track 7 and at the end of track 8). Theatrical and political; this is a fascinating release."-ReR Megacorp



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra; May 22, 1914 - May 30, 1993) was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his experimental music, "cosmic philosophy", prolific output, and theatrical performances. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979. For much of his career, Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up.

Born and raised in Alabama, Blount would eventually become involved in the 1940s Chicago jazz scene. He soon abandoned his birth name, taking the name Sun Ra (after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun) and developing a complex persona and mythology that would make him a pioneer of Afrofuturism: he claimed he was an alien from Saturn on a mission to preach peace, and throughout his life he consistently denied any ties to his prior identity. His widely eclectic and exploratory music would eventually touch on virtually the entire history of jazz, ranging from swing music and bebop to free jazz and fusion, and his compositions ranged from keyboard solos to big bands of over 30 musicians. From the mid-1950s until his death, Ra led the musical collective The Arkestra (which featured artists such as Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, June Tyson throughout its various iterations). Its performances often included dancers and musicians dressed in elaborate, futuristic costumes inspired by ancient Egyptian attire and the space age.

Though his mainstream success was limited, Sun Ra was a prolific recording artist and frequent live performer, and remained both influential and controversial throughout his life for his music and persona. He is now widely considered an innovator; among his distinctions are his pioneering work in free improvisation and modal jazz and his early use of electronic keyboards. Over the course of his career, he recorded dozens of singles and over one hundred full-length albums, comprising well over 1000 songs, and making him one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th century. Following Sun Ra's death in 1993, the Arkestra continues to perform."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ra)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"John Gilmore (September 28, 1931 – August 19, 1995) was an avant-garde jazz saxophonist known for his tenure with keyboardist/bandleader Sun Ra from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Gilmore grew up in Chicago and played clarinet from the age of 14. He took up the tenor saxophone while serving in the United States Air Force from 1948 to 1952, then pursued a musical career, playing briefly with pianist Earl Hines before encountering Sun Ra in 1953.

For the next four decades, Gilmore recorded and performed almost exclusively with Sun Ra. This was puzzling to some, who noted Gilmore's talent, and thought he could be a major star like John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins. Despite being five years older than Gilmore, Coltrane was impressed with his playing, and took informal lessons from Gilmore in the late 1950s. Coltrane's epochal, proto–free jazz "Chasin' the Trane" was inspired partly by Gilmore's sound.

In 1957 he co-led with Clifford Jordan a Blue Note date that is regarded as a hard bop classic: Blowing In from Chicago. Horace Silver, Curly Russell, and Art Blakey provided the rhythm section. In the mid-1960s Gilmore toured with the Jazz Messengers and he participated in recording sessions with Paul Bley, Andrew Hill (Andrew! and Compulsion), Pete La Roca (Turkish Women at the Bath), McCoy Tyner (Today and Tomorrow) and a handful of others. In 1970 he co-led a recording with Jamaican trumpeter Dizzy Reece. His main focus throughout, however, remained with the Sun Ra Arkestra.

Gilmore's devotion to Sun Ra was due, in part, to the latter's use of harmony, which Gilmore considered both unique and a logical extension of bebop. Gilmore had stated that Sun Ra was "more stretched out than Monk" and that "I'm not gonna run across anybody who's moving as fast as Sun Ra ... So I just stay where I am."

Gilmore occasionally doubled on drums and also played bass clarinet until Sun Ra hired Robert Cummings as a specialist on the latter instrument in the mid-1950s. However, tenor sax was his main instrument and Gilmore himself made a huge contribution to Sun Ra's recordings and was the Arkestra's leading sideman, being given solos on almost every track on which he appeared. In the Rough Guide to Jazz, Brian Priestley says:

Gilmore is known for two rather different styles of tenor playing. On performances of a straight ahead post-bop character (which include many of those with Sun Ra), he runs the changes with a fluency and tone halfway between Johnny Griffin and Wardell Gray, and with a rhythmic and motivic approach which he claims influenced Coltrane. On more abstract material, he is capable of long passages based exclusively on high-register squeals. Especially when heard live, Gilmore was one of the few musicians who carried sufficient conviction to encompass both approaches.

Many fans of jazz saxophone consider him to be among the greatest ever, his fame shrouded in the relative anonymity of being a member of Sun Ra's Arkestra. His "straight ahead post-bop" talents are exemplified in his solo on the Arkestra's rendition of "Blue Lou," as seen on Mystery, Mr. Ra.

After Sun Ra's 1993 death, Gilmore led Ra's Arkestra for a few years before his own death from emphysema. Marshall Allen then took over the Arkestra leadership."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gilmore_(musician))
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Marshall Belford Allen (born May 25, 1924) is an American free jazz and avant-garde jazz alto saxophone player. He also performs on flute, oboe, piccolo, and EVI (an electronic valve instrument made by Steiner, Crumar company).

Allen is best known for his work with eccentric keyboardist/bandleader Sun Ra, having recorded and performed mostly in this context since the late 1950s, and having led Sun Ra's Arkestra since 1993. Critic Jason Ankeny describes Marshall as "one of the most distinctive and original saxophonists of the postwar era."

Marshall Allen was born in Louisville, Kentucky.

During the Second World War he enlisted in the 92nd Infantry Division and was stationed in France. Allen studied alto saxophone in Paris and played in Europe with Art Simmons and James Moody.

He is best known for his mastery of pyrotechnic effects on the alto - he has said that he "wanted to play on a broader sound basis rather than on chords" (1971 interview with Tam Fiofori cited in). The opportunity came through his long association with Sun Ra, with whom he performed almost exclusively from 1958 to Ra's death in 1993, although he did record outside the Arkestra, notably with Paul Bley's group in 1964 and with Olatunji's group during the mid-1960s. Critic Scott Yanow has described Allen's playing as "Johnny Hodges from another dimension".

Since the departure of Sun Ra and John Gilmore, Allen has led the Arkestra, and has recorded two albums as their bandleader. In May 2004, Allen celebrated his 80th birthday on stage with the Arkestra, as part of their performance at the Ninth Vision Festival in New York City. Allen gave another performance on his birthday in 2008 at Sullivan Hall in New York City.

Allen often appears in NYC-area collaborations with bassist Henry Grimes and has also participated in the "Outerzone Orchestra" together with Francisco Mora Catlett, Carl Craig and others in an appreciation of Sun Ra's music."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Allen)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Danny Davis was mainly an alto saxophone player and long-time member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, spanning a period from the early '60s to the late '80s. He is also heard on albums on the Japanese Fool label, and with Takehisa Kosugi & Peter Kowald on the FMP label."

-Discogs, Squidco 7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Clifford Osbourne Jarvis (August 26, 1941 - November 26, 1999) was an American hard bop and free jazz drummer, who in the 1980s moved to London, England, where he spent the remainder of his career.

Clifford Jarvis, the son of Malcom "Shorty" Jarvis was born in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, where he studied at Berklee College of Music in the 1950s.

Moving to New York City, he established himself in jazz between 1959 and 1966, by recording with bebop and hard-bop musicians including Randy Weston, Yusef Lateef, Freddie Hubbard, Barry Harris, Jackie McLean, John Patton, Chet Baker, Kenny Drew, Walter Davis, and Elmo Hope, and playing with Grant Green and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

He worked and recorded with musicians associated with free jazz, including Sun Ra (from 1962 to 1976), Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Simmons, Alice Coltrane, and Archie Shepp.

During the 1980s, Jarvis moved to England, where he played with younger musicians including Courtney Pine. He also worked as a music educator at Chats Palace Arts Centre in London and Pyramid Arts Development in Dalston. Jarvis continued teaching until his death in 1999."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifford_Jarvis)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Atakatune, aka Stanley Leon Morgan, Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1953, My father spent his childhood sharing time between Camden New Jersey and Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood. It was in Germantown where he began a relationship at age 19 that would change his life forever. He first began to play the conga drums for Sun Ra's Arkestra in 1972 and would soon come to be referred to as "the premier Conga player and percussionist" under the direction of the Great Cosmic Philosopher Sun Ra."

-Takee Morgan (https://www.takkeemmorgan.com/news/atakatune-stanley-leon-morgan/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Song No. 1 8:51

2. There Is Change in the Air 10:58

3. The Antique Blacks 3:39

4. This Song Is Dedicated to Nature's God 3:58

5. The Ridiculous *I* and the Cosmos Me 4:43

6. Would I for All That Were 2:56

7. Space Is the Place 8:10

8. You Thought You Could Build a World Without Us 9:11

Related Categories of Interest:

Sun Ra

Improvised Music
Jazz
2009 Top Sellers
Jazz Reissues
Jazz & Improvisation Based on Compositions

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