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Sun Ra & His Myth Science Arkestra

The Paris Tapes: Live at le Theatre du Chaelet 1971 [VINYL]

Sun Ra & His Myth Science Arkestra: The Paris Tapes: Live at le Theatre du Chaelet 1971 [VINYL] (KS Art Yard Series)

Essential live recordings from the legendary 1971 performance at Le Theatre du le Chatelet, Paris, France with a large Arkestra including Ahk Tal Ebah, Marshall Allen, Danny Davis, John Gilmore, Hakim Rahim, Clifford Jarvis, James Jackson, Larry Northington, &c.

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product information:

UPC: 8717127020164

Label: KS Art Yard Series
Catalog ID: KSAY 006N-LP
Squidco Product Code: 21087

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Netherlands
Packaging: LP
Recorded live at Le Theatre du le Chatelet, Paris in 1971.


Sun Ra-organ, synth, piano, vocals

Kwame Hadi-trumpet, percussion

Ahk Tal Ebah-trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals

Marshall Allen-alto saxophone, flute, oboe, percussion

Danny Davis-alto saxophone, flute, percussion

Larry Northington-alto saxophone, percussion

Istar Sundance-alto saxophone

John Gilmore-tenor saxophone, drums, percussion, vocals

Danny Thompson-baritone saxophone, flute, percussion

Hakim Rahim-baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, flute

Al Batin Nur-english horn

Eloe Omoe-bass clarinet, percussion

James Jacson-flute, oboe, infinity drum

Clifford Jarvis-drums

Lex Humphries-drums

Tommy Hunter-drums, alto saxophone

Nimrod Hunt-percussion

Roger Aralamon Hazoume-balafon, dance

June Tyson-vocals

Malik Ramadan-vocal, tympani

Art Jenkins-vocals, percussion

Wisteria El Moondew-dance

Cheryl Banks-dance

Kevin Massey-dance

Kennith Alexander-dance

Richard Wilkinson-lightshow

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track listing:


1. Space Is the Place

2. Somebody Else's Idea


1. Watusi

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Sun Ra
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sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Sun Ra and his larger than usual Arkestra are caught live here - dancers and all - sometime during 1971 at the Théâter du Châtelet in Paris, France for what is surely one of the Arkestra's finest concert happenings - particularly during this period.

While Ra's Arkestra was recorded live several times during 1971, the personnel and the instrumentation presented here are closest to a October 14, 1971, performance that was captured in Helsinki, Finland and issued on a CD/DVD I have not heard called Helsinki 1971 - The Complete Concert & Interview (Transparency, 2009). So it's a reasonable guess that The Paris Tapes were probably made around the same time, even though the Helsinki disc dubs the Arkestra as "Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Solar Research Arkestra" while the Paris disc credits "Sun Ra and His Mythic Science Arkestra." (Notes writer Chris Trent indicates that the Paris concert came six weeks after the Helsinki concert, but that's probably not right.)

What is here is simply stunning. Ra's El Saturn Records must have had some intention of issuing this exceptional performance, or parts of it, at one time or another because the sound is stunningly well realized. The presumption is that someone in the Arkestra's camp recorded the concert. It surely doesn't sound like a bootleg. Someone recorded this music quite beautifully, stored it especially well and somehow, some four decades later, we can now hear what must have amazed that Parisian audience in 1971.

Here, London's Art Yard label collaborates beautifully with Amsterdam's Kindred Spirits to issue The Paris Tapes, a spectacular addition to the already massive Sun Ra discography. The Kindred Spirits LP features two Arkestra standards from the concert, "Space Is the Place" and "Watusi" and the rather too repetitive and dull Latin-based "Somebody Else's Idea" (an extremely obscure Ra number featuring June Tyson's lead vocal). The Art Yard CD presents the full two-hour and twenty-minute concert over two discs, jam-packed with some of the Arkestra's most compellingly captured and lively music.

Live in Paris is the Arkestra at its most percussive. From the very first notes of the generically titled "Introduction," we're on another aural plane of Ra's multi-visional musical multiverse. As Dusty Groove aptly notes, the effect is more spiritual than avant garde. Perhaps liner notes writer Knoel Scott's one-track script, which proposes among other things, that "Introduction" is the musical soundtrack to racial savaging, is one way to experience Ra's unique musical achievement here. I don't hear it that way at all and I don't believe it was formed or fashioned with that in mind. The pervasive percussion and spacey sounds probably had more to do with Ra's sci-fi positivity: lift yourself up and you can go to outer space.

There are three drummers credited here (Clifford Jarvis, Lex Humphries and Tommy Hunter) and percussionist Nimrod Hunter and nearly everyone else in the Arkestra doubles up on percussion when they're not doing their thing. Over nearly two and a half hours, the percussive force neither wanes nor wavers. It becomes hypnotically more compelling, grounding even the freest exchanges of Arkestra soloists in a rhythmic orgy that will make sense to jazz listeners who have trouble accepting or understanding music that goes somewhere out there ("Discipline 27," "Discipline Number Unknown").

A strong rock sensibility is present here as well that isn't as obvious elsewhere in Ra's music. It's as if Sun Ra - like Miles Davis - took in Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Santana and worked their thing into his own (The Paris Tapes even suggest that Miles Davis was listening closely to what Sun Ra was doing too). Part of that comes out of Ra's helming of the organ and Farfisa keyboard (to wit, the exciting two-part "Love in Outer Space" and the second of the two untitled pieces). But he's played those instruments elsewhere and the effect was not quite like this. Perhaps it's the combination of Ra's electric eclectics and the powerful surge of percussion that make The Paris Tapes feel like the Arkestra's "rock" album.

The entire concert is invigorating from start to finish, but there are several highlights that make The Paris Tapes an essential Arkestra listening experience. The tremendously performed "Third Planet," which the Arkestra also performed at the 1971 Cairo concert captured on Horizon (a Saturn LP also issued on CD by Art Yard), is one of Ra's best and, amazingly, very little known. As a composition, it harks back to the classics of Jazz in Silhouette and Supersonic Jazz. As a performance, it is a reminder of the section work this group was always capable of and, more importantly, the terrifically proficient soloing each and every one of these guys could do - particularly within the stratosphere.

"Watusi," a Ra favorite first heard on the 1970 Fondation Maeght Nights set as well as on the Helsinki and Cairo concert recordings, is an amazing percussion workout that - surprisingly - never gets tired or stale over its mind boggling 23-minute performance. This makes you wonder whether a DVD of this concert, like the Helsinki performance, wasn't somehow available. No doubt this would have been spectacular to watch. It makes for quite a listen as well.

Finally, there is the unusually and unapologetic African variation of "Angels and Demons at Play," where a lone flute floats magnificently for much of the time above layers of dense percussion that tells the story of the song's title better than nearly all of the variations ever waxed of this song. Things get livelier when Sonny comes out to play, blazing his electrified Farfisa organ for a brief respite. It's hard to say who the Farfisa represents. But maybe that's the point. It's a truly wondrous performance; one of the best on record.

The Paris Tapes: Live at le Théâter du Châtelet 1971 is an unexpected pleasure and a valuable addition to the many live Arkestra recordings out there. This is a side of the Sun that isn't very well known and stands among the Arkestra's best captured performances. [...]"-Douglas Payne Blogspot

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 (

"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 (

"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 (

"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 (

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