Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra
Sleeping Beauty [VINYL]
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An extremely soulful electric album from Sun Ran and the Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra, a groove driven and funky swirling masterpiece from the late 70's.
Label: KS Art Yard Series
Catalog ID: KSAY 003N-LP
Squidco Product Code: 20832
Originally released on the Saturn label in 1980.
Sun Ra-piano, electric piano, organ, vocals
Michael Ray-trumpet, fluglehorn
Vincent Chancey-french horn
Marshall Allen-alto sax, flute
John Gilmore-tenor sax, percussion
Danny Ray Thompson-baritone sax, flute
Eloe Omoe-bass clarinet, flute
James Jacson-bassoon, flute, percussion
Disco Kid-electric guitar
Richard Williams-elecric bass
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1 Springtime Again 9:17
2 Door Of The Cosmos 9:00
1 Sleeping Beauty 11:51
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sample the album:
"This is the great late-night Sun Ra chillout album you never knew about. The band had been working in a more groove-oriented setting off and on for over a year, as evidenced by the albums Lanquidity and On Jupiter, with both featuring prominent electric bass and electric guitar. Sleeping Beauty picks up right where On Jupiter left off, with the gentle, swaying "Springtime Again" echoing the same mellow vibe of "Seductive Fantasy" from On Jupiter.
A skittering intro coalesces as different instruments pick up bits of the melody, which is then fully expressed by the horn section and ensemble vocals. It's a simple two-chord vamp, with beautiful solos that seem to embody the reawakening and rebirth of springtime. "The Door of the Cosmos" starts with a gospel-like chant and handclaps, with comments from Ra's electric piano and electric guitar. A strong bassline enters, very reminiscent of "A Love Supreme, Pt. 1: Acknowledgement," but the accompanying chant celebrates the mysteries of the unknown rather than the universal truth of A Love Supreme. This track builds in intensity, but never loses its groove or becomes nearly as raucous as the Arkestra is sometimes known for.
"Sleeping Beauty" is the album centerpiece, taking up all of side two. Ra's beautiful electric piano gets things rolling, and the band falls into a peaceful groove before the vocals enter, led by the wonderful June Tyson. These songs are all built on the simplest of structures, and the playing from everyone is understated and sublime.
Sleeping Beauty is truly a high point in an unwieldy discography, and something of an anomaly at the same time. Outstanding."-Sean Westergaard, All Music
• Show Bio for Sun Ra
"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)
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• Show Bio for Marshall Allen
"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)
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• Show Bio for John Gilmore
"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))
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• Show Bio for June Tyson
"June Tyson (born February 5, 1936, Albemarle, North Carolina - d. November 24, 1992, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a singer and dancer who achieved prominence performing with keyboardist and bandleader Sun Ra.
When she joined Sun Ra's Arkestra around 1968, she became the first female member of his band. (Sun Ra had previously recorded with a few female vocalists, but they were not members of his band.) She became a close and trusted friend of Ra, and helped him with costume design. Tyson continued to perform and record with Ra up to her death.
Tyson was diagnosed with cancer and grew increasingly ill. When she was unable to sing because of her illness, she played the violin."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Tyson)
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