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Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Research Arkestra: Planets of Life or Death: Amiens '73 (Strut)

Originally released on LP for Record Store Day 2015, this is an unissued Sun Ra concert from Amiens, France in 1973 with a 19-piece Arkestra performing live at Maison de la Culture, a good quality capture of this intense, ritualistic and visceral concert from the band's prime.
 

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Sleeve notes by Knoel Scott. Recorded direct from the soundboard and mastered from first generation reel to reel.

UPC: 730003312328

Label: STRUT
Catalog ID: STRUT123CD
Squidco Product Code: 20749

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Maison del la Culture, in Amiens, France on October 21st, 1973


Personnel:

Danny Davis-Alto Saxophone, Flute

Marshall Allen-Alto Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo Flute, Percussion

Danny Ray Thompson-Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Percussion

Ronnie Boykins-Bass

Eloe Omoe-Bass Clarinet, Flute, Percussion

James Jacson-Bassoon, Flute, Percussion

Alzo Wright-Cello, Viola, Percussion

Tommy Hunter-Drums

Sun Ra-Electric Piano, Synthesizer [Mini-Moog], Vocals

Brother Ahh-French Horn

Odun Shahib-Percussion

Roger Aralamon Hazoume-Percussion, Balafon, Dance

Math Samba-Percussion, Dance

John Gilmore-Tenor Saxophone, Drums, Vocals

Akh Tal Ebah, Kwame Hadi-Trumpet, Flugelhorn

June Tyson-Vocals, Dance,

Ruth Wright-Vocals, Dance

Cheryl Banks-Space Ethnic Voices

Judith Holton-Space Ethnic Voices

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track listing:


1. Enlightenment 2:24

2. Love In Outer Space 17:08

3. Lights On A Satellite 3:53

4. Discipline 27-Ii / What Planet Is This 23:47





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Improvised Music
Jazz
Sun Ra
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Sun Ra and his Arkestra had just completed a residency at the legendary Gibus in Paris in October before traveling to Amiens for a visceral Sunday afternoon concert. "Sun Ra's use of the Arkestra as his instrument in an onslaught of sound, colour and movement stimulated and even shocked the senses and the shakras of audience participants onto a higher plane of spirit consciousness," explains the Arkestra's Knoel Scott.

The session kicks off with the theatrical overture, 'Enlightenment' as Sun Ra and vocalist June Tyson invite the audience to "be of our space world." Ra then moves into a rare instrumental version of 'Love In Outer Space,' transforming the perennial Arkestra classic into a raw, ritualistic experience.

That follows with the glistening 'Lights On A Satellite' led by the spiritual tenor sax of John Gilmore. Closing track, the epic, chaotic, anxious 'Discipline 27-II / What Planet Is This' features Sun Ra and June Tyson take a thinly veiled psychedelic swipe at life on earth: "If this is a planet of life, why do people die here?"

Planets Of Life Or Death follows 2014's landmark compilation presented by Marshall Allen, In the Orbit Of Ra."-Strut


Sleeve notes by Knoel Scott. Recorded direct from the soundboard and mastered from first generation reel to reel.

Artist Biographies:

"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)
7/10/2017

"Ronnie Boykins (December 17, 1935 - April 20, 1980) was a jazz bassist and is best known for his work with pianist/bandleader Sun Ra, although he had played with such disparate musicians as Muddy Waters, Johnny Griffin, and Jimmy Witherspoon prior to joining Sun Ra's Arkestra.

He joined the Arkestra during the Chicago period, travelled with them to Canada and then to New York City. Boykins has been described as "the pivot around which much of Sun Ra's music revolved for 8 years".

This is especially pronounced on the key recordings from 1965 (The Magic City, The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One and The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume Two) where the intertwining lines of Boykins' bass and Ra's electronic keyboards provide the cohesion. He was a regular member of Sun Ra's band from 1958 until 1966, and occasionally thereafter up to 1974.

Like his fellow Sun Ra bandmates, John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, Boykins attended Chicago's DuSable High School and studied under its famed music teacher "Captain" Walter Dyett. He also studied with Ernie Shepard, who would later work with Duke Ellington.

Before joining Ra, Boykins had joined with a trombonist friend to open a private club-The House of Culture-with the intent of promoting black culture.

Boykins' arco solo on Sun Ra's "Rocket No. 9 Take Off for Planet Venus" from 1960 may be the first recorded example of the bass being played in a horn-like manner within a relatively free context, predating similar work by Alan Silva and David Izenzon. Boykins worked with both free and straight-ahead musicians.

In 1962, he recorded with the hard bop tenor saxophonist Bill Barron and, the next year, with pianist Elmo Hope. Boykins worked with tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp's New York Contemporary Five in 1964. Boykins left Ra in 1966, ostensibly to pursue more lucrative opportunities; Ra had a difficult time finding a replacement, at times settling for playing his own bass lines on keyboard.

In the late '60s, he formed his own group, the Free Jazz Society, which included the pianist John Hicks.

In the '70s, Boykins played with the Melodic Art-tet, a cooperative free jazz ensemble that also included drummer Roger Blank, saxophonist Charles Brackeen, and trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah.

In 1975, the bassist led a session for ESP Disk that produced his sole LP as a leader, The Will Come, Is Now.

In 1979 he played with Steve Lacy and Dennis Charles on New York Capers and Quirks. In the course of his career, Boykins also worked with Mary Lou Williams, Marion Brown, Sarah Vaughan, and Hajj Daoud Haroon, among others.

He died of a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 44."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_Boykins)
7/10/2017

"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))
7/10/2017

"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)
7/10/2017

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