Drawn from 3 classic 70's Sun Ra records, these quartet settings mix Sun Ra's electronics with great rhythmic and instrumental jazz, visionary and still futuristic music.
Label: Art Yard
Released in: Great Britain
"Companion to Disco 3000, made on the same classic Italian quartet tour with John Gilmore, Michael Ray (trumpet) and the minimal but perfect Luqman Ali (drums). Ra himself plays piano and electronic keyboards, including the mysterious Crumar Mainman, which Ra describes as 'like a piano, organ, clavichord, cello, violin and brass instruments' and which also, importantly, has a facility for pre-programmed bass-lines and electronic percussion - which Ra uses constantly and to great effect in this small ensemble setting - and seldom, if ever, elsewhere.
The best of this collection (most of CD1) is luminous: very electronic, often rhythmical and melodic, always economical and making every sound count. These tracks are like no other jazz ensemble and, although recognisable as Ra - who else could think of, and then get away with, this - unlike any other Ra ensemble either. Ra makes the machines do amazing, visionary, things while the band exercises restraint, remaining always in focus. Between, there are piano, saxophone, trumpet and drum vignettes, fresh and perfectly judged; this really was a fine band.
This places the original vinyl release (and related releases: Sound Mirror and Disco 300) back into the context of the concerts from which they were drawn. An important addition to the Sun Ra canon since it is a rare document of an unusual Ra project that produced three classic late '70s LPs. Beautifully packaged and well annotated."-Recommended Records
• 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 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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Shipping Weight: 6.00 units
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Label: Art Yard
Catalog ID: ReR AYCD 002
Squidco Product Code: 9643
Format: 2 CDs
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack Double CD
Sun Ra-piano, organ, moog synth, rhythm machine, vocals
John Gilmore-tenor sax, drums, vocals
Luqman Ali-drums, vocals
Michael Ray-trumpet, vocals
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