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Sun Ra

The Early Albums Collection 1957-1963 [4 CDs]

Sun Ra: The Early Albums Collection 1957-1963 [4 CDs] (Enlightenment)

A 4-CD collection bringing together 7 full albums and early singles, more than five hours of music from the early part of Herman Blount's, aka Sun Ra's, career as a bandleader, tracing the development of his work from 1957 to 1963 as he introduced increasingly out forms of jazz through compositions like "Sunology", "Interplanetary Music", "We Travel the Spaceways", &c.

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product information:

UPC: 823564816401

Label: Enlightenment
Catalog ID: EN4CD9145
Squidco Product Code: 25822

Format: 4 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Recorded between 1957 and 1963.


Sun Ra

Calvin Barron

Raymond Dancer

Charles Davis

Hobart Dotson

Sunny Lane

Charles Orio

Berryl Orris

Pat Patrick

Julian Priester

Tom Seymour

Matt Swift

Lonnie Tolbert

Everett Turner

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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 (

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"Charles Davis (May 20, 1933 - July 15, 2016) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Davis played alto, tenor and baritone saxophone, and performed extensively with Archie Shepp and Sun Ra.

Born in Goodman, Mississippi, Davis was raised in Chicago. He graduated from DuSable High School before studying at the Chicago School of Music. Davis also studied privately with John Hauser. During the 1950s, he played with Billie Holiday, Ben Webster, Sun Ra and Dinah Washington. Davis also performed and recorded with Kenny Dorham, with whom he associated musically for many years.

During the 1960s, he performed and recorded with Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, Illinois Jacquet, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny Griffin, Steve Lacy and Ahmad Jamal, also working with Blue Mitchell, Erskine Hawkins, John Coltrane and Clifford Jordan. In 1964, Davis topped Downbeat Magazine's International Jazz Critics Poll for baritone saxophone. He performed in the musical The Philosophy of The Spiritual - A Masque of the Black with Willie Jones, produced by Nadi Qamar. Davis taught at PS 179 in Brooklyn and was musical director of the Turntable, a nightclub owned by Lloyd Price.

During the 1970s, Davis was a member of the cooperative Artistry in Music with Hank Mobley, Cedar Walton, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. He co-led, composed and arranged for the Baritone Saxophone Retinue, a six-baritone-saxophone group. Davis toured Europe, playing major jazz festivals and concerts with the Clark Terry Orchestra, and toured the United States with Duke Ellington's Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. As musical director of the Home of the Id nightclub, he presented Gene Ammons, Randy Weston and Max Roach. As producer of the Monday Night Boat Ride Up The Hudson, Davis presented Art Blakey, George Benson and Etta Jones. He appeared on television with Archie Shepp, Lucky Thompson, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

During the 1980s, Davis performed and recorded with the Philly Joe Jones Quartet, Dameronia and Abdullah Ibrahim's Ekaya in the U.S., Europe and Africa and toured Europe with Savoy Seven Plus 1: A Salute to Benny Goodman. With his own quartet he performed in Rome, at the Bologna Jazz Festival, the Jazz in Sardinia Festival and the La Spezia Festival. Davis was musical director of the Syncopation nightclub and performed in the film, The Man with Perfect Timing, with Abdullah Ibrahim. In 1984, he was named a BMI Jazz Pioneer.

During the 1990s, Davis was the musical librarian for Spike Lee's Mo Better Blues. He performed at the Jamaica Jazz Festival with Dizzy Reece, returning to perform with Roy Burrowes. Davis played in the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame Band with Ray Charles, Joe Williams and Nancy Wilson. He toured the Netherlands in a salute to the music of Kenny Dorham, and was a guest artist at the 12th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival at Duke University. A featured soloist with the Barry Harris Jazz Ensemble, Davis performs in clubs with the Barry Harris-Charles Davis Quartet. He recorded and toured Europe and Japan with the Clifford Jordan Big Band. Davis played tenor saxophonist and arranged for Larry Ridley's Jazz Legacy Ensemble, which appeared at the Senegal Jazz Festival, performed concerts and conducted clinics, seminars and master classes. The ensemble also appeared in a concert series at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He was a featured artist at the Amman Jazz Festival, produced by the American Embassy. Davis was also a featured artist in clubs and concerts in Paris, Toulouse and Hamburg. He appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the original production of Eduardo Machado's Stevie Wants to Play the Blues], directed by Jim Simpson. Davis played in the Three Baritone Saxophone Band with Ronnie Cuber and Gary Smulyan (touring Italy) and appeared at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the 1998 JVC Jazz & Image Festival at Villa Celimontana in Rome and Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. The saxophonist was a featured soloist at the 1998 Chicago Jazz Festival. In June 1999, Davis performed with Aaron Bell and the Duke Ellington Tribute Orchestra at the Jackie Robinson Afternoon of Jazz Festival in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was a featured artist at the 1999 Jazz & Image Festival.

Beginning in 2000, Davis was a featured artist at the Blue Note in Beirut, a number of other clubs in Italy and Spain and at the 2000 Jazz & Image Festival. With his quartet, he played on the M.S. Dynasty, a Carnival Cruise Lines ship. Davis produced and performed in the Tribute to Stanley Turrentine concert in Philadelphia. In August 2001, he performed for President Bill Clinton at the Harlem Welcomes Clinton celebration. The Barry Harris-Charles Davis Quintet appeared several times at Sweet Basil in New York City and continues to perform together, including yearly appearances at Birdland. In August 2004, they performed for the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. Davis was a featured artist at the 14th annual Jazz Festival in Badajoz, Spain, and was a member of the Walter Booker Quintet. He performed with his quartet at New York's Rubin Museum of Art and performed in the Netherlands, Denmark and Israel. In addition to performing and recording with guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and the El Mollenium Band (featuring the music of Elmo Hope), in 2009 Davis toured Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy with the Charles Davis All-stars: A Tribute to Kenny Dorham; the following year, the quintet performed in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. In addition to his own quartet, featuring Tardo Hammer (piano), Lee Hudson (bass) and Jimmy Wormworth (drums), the saxophonist performs with the Spirit of Life Ensemble in the U.S. and Europe.

Davis was a private saxophone instructor for students from The New School and a teacher at the Lucy Moses School. For over 25 years, he was an instructor at the Jazzmobile Workshops. Davis recorded eight albums, and was featured on over 100 recordings. Some of his CDs as a leader include Blue Gardenia, with Cedar Walton on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums, on Reade Street Records; Land of Dreams, with Tardo Hammer, Lee Hudson and Jimmy Wormworth, released in 2007 on Smalls Records, and Our Man in Copenhagen (the music of Bent Jaedig, released in October 2008 on Fresh Sound Records, with Sam Yahel, Ben Street, and Kresten Osgood. The Charles Davis Allstars: A Tribute to Kenny Dorham (with Tom Kirkpatrick on trumpet, Claus Raible on piano, Giorgos Antoniou on bass and Bernd Reiter on drums), recorded live at the Bird's Eye in Basel, Switzerland, was released in 2010."

-Wikipedia (

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"To describe the phenomenal musical background of musician, composer, arranger "Pat" Patrick could fill several pages. His versatility combined with a distinctly individual sound has enhanced groups led by Erskine Hawkins, Sun Ra, Leon Thomas, Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, Horace Henderson, James Moody, Cootie Williams, Duke Ellington and Thelonius Monk to mention a few. His musical education includes study under Captain Walter Dyett at Du Sable High, Willy Randall of the original Earl Hines Band, Clark Terry and Wilson Jr. College in Chicago. Pat is the winner of the Downbeat TDWR (Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition) 1971 critics poll and fifth in the Downbeat "Established Talent" critics poll in 1972. Honours in the Popular Readers poll are also to his credit. Not only has he had several of his compositions recorded, but has composed music for a number of plays and television. He has recorded with Sun Ra, James Moody, Quincy Jones, Mongo Santamaria, Olatunji and John Coltrane among others. Pat Patrick is co-founder of the Baritone Saxophone Retinue.

As composer, bandleader, and full-time member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Pat Patrick was a visionary musician whose singular contribution to the jazz tradition has not yet been fully recognised. As well holding down the baritone spot in the Arkestra for 35 years, Patrick played flute and alto, composed in both jazz and popular idioms, and was a widely respected musician, playing with Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, with whom he appeared on Africa/Brass. But he is best known for his crucial contributions to key Sun Ra recordings including Angels and Demons at Play, Jazz in Silhouette and Nubians of Plutonia, among dozens of others.

As a bandleader, Patrick only released one LP - the almost mythical Sound Advice, recorded with his Baritone Saxophone Retinue, a unique gathering of baritone saxophone masters including Charles Davis and Rene Mclean. First issued in 1977 on Sun Ra's legendary Saturn Records imprint, Sound Advice is a deephued exploration of this special instrument, a lost masterpiece of Arkestrally-minded Ellingtonia where higher adepts of the lower cosmic tones are heard in rare conference."

-Pat Patrick Bandcamp Page (

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"Julian Priester (born June 29, 1935) is an American jazz trombonist. He is sometimes credited "Julian Priester Pepo Mtoto". He has played with Sun Ra, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock.

Priester attended Chicago's DuSable High School, where he studied under Walter Dyett. In his teens he played with blues and R&B artists such as Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley, and had the opportunity to jam with jazz players like saxophonist Sonny Stitt.

In the early 1950s, Priester was a member of Sun Ra's big band, recording several albums with the group before leaving Chicago in 1956 to tour with Lionel Hampton and he joined Dinah Washington in 1958. The following year he settled in New York and joined the group led by drummer Max Roach who heard him playing on the Philly Joe Jones album, "Blues for Dracula" (1958). While playing in Roach's group, Priester also recorded two albums as a leader, Keep Swingin' and Spiritsville, both of which were recorded and released by Riverside (the latter by their Jazzland subsidiary) in 1960.

Priester recorded two albums with trumpeter Booker Little in 1961, Out Front and Booker Little and Friend (also known as Victory and Sorrow), the first also features Roach, and Priester took part in the sessions for John Coltrane's Africa/Brass album, which was recorded in the same year. He left Roach's band during 1961, and between then and 1969 appeared as a sideman on albums led by Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Johnny Griffin, and Sam Rivers. In 1969, he accepted an offer to play with Duke Ellington's big band, and he stayed with that ensemble for six months before leaving in 1970 to join pianist Herbie Hancock's fusion sextet.

After leaving the Hancock in 1973, Priester moved to San Francisco, where he recorded two more albums as a leader: Love, Love in 1974 and 1977's Polarization. In 1979 he joined the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where he taught jazz composition, performance, and history until retiring in 2011.

In the 1980s, he became a member of the Dave Holland's quintet and also returned to Sun Ra's band for a few recordings. The 1990s saw the addition of Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra to his schedule. Priester was co-leader with drummer Jimmy Bennington on 'Portraits and Silhouettes' which received an Honorable Mention in All About Jazz New York's 'Best Recordings of 2007', which culminated with the two musicians appearing at the 30th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. Priester also performs on the album Monoliths & Dimensions by the drone metal band Sunn 0))), released in May 2009. His major contributions were to the final track of the album, "Alice," a tribute to Alice Coltrane.

In addition to teaching and touring, Priester continues to record albums under his own name. He released Hints on Light and Shadow (with Sam Rivers and Tucker Martine) in 1997 and followed it in 2003 with In Deep End Dance."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:


1. Braineville 4:15

2. Call For All Demons 5:16

3. Transitition 3:42

4. Possession 4:58

5. Street Named Hell 3:39

6. Lullaby For Realville 4:43

7. Future 2:55

8. New Horizons 3:06

9. Fall Off The Log 4:00

10. Sun Song 3:37

11. El Is A Sound Of Joy 4:04

12. Overtones Of China 3:25

13. Two Tones 3:41

14. Paradise 4:30

15. Planet Earth 4:24

16. Ankh 6:31

17. Saturn 4:01

18. Reflections In Blue 6:21

19. El Victor 2:34 CD2

1. India 4:52

2. Sunology 5:42

3. Advice To Medics 2:04

4. Super Blonde 2:37

5. Soft Talk 2:43

6. Sunology Part II 7:07

7. Kingdom Of Not 5:33

8. Portrait Of The Living Sky 1:50

9. Blues At Midnight 6:32

10. El Is A Sound Of Joy 3:58

11. Spring Time In Chicago 3:53

12. Medicine For A Nightmare 2:27

13. Onward 3:33

14. Somewhere In Space 3:00

15. Interplanetary Music 2:25

16. Interstellar Low Ways 8:23

17. Space Loneliness 4:31

18. Space Aura 3:10

19. Rocket Number Nine Take Off For The Planet Venus 6:12


1. Hours After 3:43

2. Horoscope 3:43

3. Images 3:49

4. Blues At Midnight 10:55

5. Enlightenment 5:02

6. Saturn 3:37

7. Velvet 3:18

8. Ancient Aiethopia 7:52

9. Bossism 4:00

10. Sounds And Something Else 2:50

11. What's That ? 2:12

12. Where Is Tomorrow ? 2:46

13. The Beginning 6:17

14. China Gates 3:21

15. New Day 5:49

16. Tapestry From An Asteroid 2:59

17. Jet Flight 3:13

18. Looking Outward 2:47

19. Space Jazz Reverie 4:52CD4

1. Circe 3:53

2. The Nile 4:53

3. Brazilian Sun 3:52

4. We Travel The Spaceways 3:23

5. Calling Planet Earth 5:33

6. Dancing Shadows 5:57

7. The Rainmaker 4:35

8. When Sun Comes Out 4:55

9. Dreaming 2:45

10. Daddy's Gonna Tell You No Lie 3:05

11. Bye Bye 2:50

12. Somebody's In Love 1:48

13. It's Christmas Time 2:45

14. Happy New Year To You 1:49

15. Muck Muck (Matt Matt) 2:48

16. Hot Skillet Mama 3:13

17. I'm Coming Home 2:03

18. Last Call For Love 2:41

19. Urnack 3:48

20. State Street 3:32

21. The Blue Set 4:42

22. Big City Blues 3:15

23. October 4:40
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"A true maverick in every sense of the word, Sun Ra remains one of the most influential, innovative and controversial figures in jazz. An exceptional composer, pianist and bandleader, Ra and his amorphous "Arkestra" embraced a vast array of styles from the entire jazz spectrum, from swing to bebop, free jazz to fusion and avant-garde to space music, while often adopting extravagant personas and costumes, and giving performances that pioneered the Afrofuturism movement. Never a great commercial success,

Sun Ra boasts one of the largest discographies of any recording artist, having released over 100 LPs and numerous compositions. Of notable interest is the early part of Sun Ra's career, when his experimental nature was first developing. Sun Ra's career would remain as eclectic and exciting as ever it was throughout the rest of his life, as he continued to push boundaries and influence countless musicians within the world of jazz and beyond. He passed away on 30th May 1993 at the age of 79, but after death, his legacy lived on, as the Arkestra continued to operate in his honour, playing the great man's compositions to this very day.

This collection brings together seven full albums, and many early singles, featuring more than five hours of music from the early part of his career as bandleader. Documenting the development of his music from 1955 to 1963, this set goes some way to unraveling the depths of this master musician and wholly unique individual's music."-Enlightenment

Related Categories of Interest:

Box Sets
Free Improvisation
Sun Ra
Large Ensembles
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Jazz Reissues
New in Improvised Music

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