The Squid's Ear Magazine


Sun Ra Arkestra: Swirling [2 LPS] (STRUT / Artyard)

The first new Sun Ra Arkestra album in twenty years, recorded in Philadelphia under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allan, with long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune, Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchel, with new material and new renderings of classic Ra compositions.
 

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Personnel:



Marshall Allen-alto saxophone, EVI

Knoel Scott-alto saxophone

James Stewart-tenor saxophone, Flute

Danny Ray Thompson-baritone saxophone, flute

Michael Ray-trumpet

Cecil Brooks-trumpet

Vincent Chancey-French horn

Dave Davis-trombone, vocals

Farid Barron-piano

Dave Hotep-guitar

Tyler Mitchell-bass

Wayne Anthony Smith, Jr.-drums

Elson Nascimento-Surdo drums, percussion

Stanley ÒAtakatuneÓ Morgan-congas

Tara Middleton-vocals, violin


Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.




UPC: 4062548015003

Label: STRUT / Artyard
Catalog ID: LP-STRUT-153
Squidco Product Code: 29991

Format: 2 LPs
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: UK & US
Packaging: Vinyl 2 LPs in a Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Peter Tramo.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The planets align as the mighty Sun Ra Arkestra, under the direction of the maestro Marshall Allen, release their first studio album in over twenty years, Swirling.

Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia, the new recording represents the continuation of a heartfelt rebirth of the Arkestra under Allen's guidance since Sun Ra left the planet in 1993, gaining new generations of followers from their regular touring across the globe. With a big band line-up featuring long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson (RIP), Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune (RIP), Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchell, the album is a full-blooded celebration of Sun Ra's legacy.

Tracks include brand new arrangements of Arkestra staples 'Angels And Demons At Play', 'Satellites Are Spinning', 'Door Of The Cosmos' and 'Rocket No. 9' alongside lesser known gems; the rousing blues 'Darkness' is recorded here for the first time, resurrected from the Ra archives by Marshall Allen. Other highlights include an epic version of 'Seductive Fantasy' (first recorded on Ra's 'On Jupiter' LP in 1979), the freeform sonic blast of 'Infinity / I'll Wait For You' and a first ever recording of the Marshall Allen swing composition, 'Swirling'.

"We truly hope that this recording brings much joy to a planet which is so deeply in need of a spirit sound and vibration," states saxophonist Knoel Scott. "We hope it contributes to a change in the ominous direction of man's journey through the cosmos." "This new release is the Arkestra's love offering to the world," concludes Marshall Allen. "Beta music for a better world."

"-Strut Records

Also available on CD.

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)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Danny Ray Thompson is a bassoon player, saxophonist and long-time member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, spanning a period from the mid-'60s to the late '80s. He has been in the groups Black Heat, The Heliosonic Tone-tette, and The Sun Ra Arkestra.

-Squidco 6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Trumpet player Michael Ray spent approximately 15 years with the Sun Ra Arkestra before he took the leap and established a band of his own, Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe. He had previously contributed to the sound of Kool & the Gang. While Sun Ra's outfit played free jazz, and Kool & the Gang was more of a contemporary funk outfit, Ray and his Cosmic Krewe have learned how to deliver their own type of funk to a jazz audience, as evidenced on the song "Earthrite." While the number gets the crowd moving in a big way every time during a live show, when Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe debuted with an eponymous release in 1994, it was decided that the mix was too much of a gamble. Evidence Music didn't include "Earthrite" on the release, although the song later found a place on Funk If I Know.

In addition to leading the Cosmic Krewe, Ray still plays trumpet with the Arkestra. Tipping his hat to the late jazz visionary, Ray included a couple of Ra's numbers, "Yolinda" and "Latin Monkey," on his Funk If I Know release. Ray also played with Phish on the album Phish: A Live One, as well as on-stage, and he contributed to Surrender to the Air by Trey Anastasio. His other work includes a soundtrack for PBS. Based in New Orleans, Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe took home the honor of Best Funk Band in 1999 when the outfit appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Ray actually supervises a pair of ensembles named Cosmic Krewe -- one based in the Crescent City, the other in Burlington, VT, and the surrounding region. Members of both Krewes are represented on the Funk If I Know CD."-Linda Seida

-All Music (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/michael-ray-mn0000471358/biography)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Vincent Chancey - French Horn and Composer

Over the past 25 years I have built a solid reputation as an accomplished and totally dedicated french horn player, performing in a wide variety of musical contexts, and as an increasingly active composer. My first instrument as a member of the junior high school band was the cornet and later the trumpet and fluglehorn. But after hearing the french horn during rehearsals I felt a strong affinity for that instrument and was happily able to make the change. Simultaniously with my band experience in high school, I was first active in Giles Yellow Jackets and later the St. Andrews Hornets and the DesPlaines Vanguard competitive drum & bugle corps. Through high school and college, I lived a kind of musical schizophrenia, studying and playing classical music, but listening to and loving jazz. Continuing in that direction for some time, I finally decided that I needed some instruction on how to approach jazz on this instrument.

Upon graduation from the Southern Illinois University School of Music, I moved to New York to seek out and study with the long-time pioneering jazz french hornist Julius Watkins. I was able to win a N.E.A. grant to begin this study program. After several years of instruction and hard practice, I first came to prominence as a regular member of the Sun Ra Arkestra from 1976 to 1978. After that I worked sporadically for Sun Ra, making a number of recordings with the ensemble, and then worked for six years with the Carla Bley Band. In 1984, I joined Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and have been featured on all of the group's nine recordings. For many years, I have also been part of the David Murray Big Band in which I am featured on five CD's. I have been able to employ my talent playing with Chick Corea, Cassandra Wilson, Shirley Horn, Randy Weston, The Gil Evans Orchestra and The Mingus Orchestra. In the Contemporary Classical idiom , I have worked with Guus Janssen on varied projects in The Netherlands. I have also performed with popular artists such as Ashford and Simpson, Melba Moore, Peggy Lee, Maxwell, Aretha Franklin, Freddy Jackson, The Winans, Elvis Costello, Brandy, Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, Dave Douglas, singer Diana Krall and many more. In 2000 I had the honor of playing a performance for Pope John Paul II's 80th birthday concert.

I have recorded as a sideman with various artist on more than 150 albums, CD's and soundtracks. Eventually I came to the point that many musicians reach when they feel the need for more personal creative expression. I began writing music that could best express myself and my instrument. I felt that no one was writing for the french horn the way I knew it could be played. Several bands were put together over many years, which lead to my first CD. This recording entitled "Welcome Mr. Chancey" was released in 1993 on In + Out Records. A quartet was featured on this album using electric guitar, bass and drums. I enjoyed working with this group, but felt that I wanted to do something closer to the music that I had always listened to as a developing jazz musician, classic jazz. I started first by composing music that I thought worked with the way I liked to play my instrument. Soon after I was asked to do a CD of music commemorating my jazz horn teacher, Julius Watkins and his group, The Jazz Modes. In 1996 I recorded my second CD "Vincent Chancey and Next Mode" on DIW records. This one featured a Quintet with tenor saxophone, piano, bass, and drums.

The french horn is my natural voice. Throughout my career I have been devoted to the idea of achieving wider recognition for the horn as a jazz instrument and I have constantly sought to increase the capability of the instrument and overcome the inherent problems of adapting it to the vocabulary of jazz."

-Vincent Chancey Website (http://www.vincentchancey.com/biography.htm)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Chicago born Tyler Mitchell studied the bass with Donald Raphael Garrett (Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Roland Kirk) and Malachi Favors (Art Ensemble of Chicago). He played with Von Freeman before moving to NY in 1984. In 1985/86 he joins Sun Ra Arkestra with which he play and tours Europe & Japan and records two albums. Part of the 'Steve Grossman Trio' with Art Taylor touring Europe in 1987 and recording.

In 1988/89 he is one of the 'Art Taylor's Wailer's' also recording live at the Village Vanguard with Jacky Terrasson.

He joins Jon Hendricks' European Tour in 1990 and records Freddie the Freeloader with Stanley Turrentine, Wynton Marsalis.

In 1992 he plays with Shirley Horn recording 'Light out of Darkness'.

In 1997 plays with Rashied Ali, Billy Bang, Jason Lindner, Frank Lowe, Larry Goldings.

In 2000 Tyler moves to Mexico where he meets and plays with many musicians such as Cuban pianist Gabriel Hernandez, guitarist Ken Basman, Pere Soto, trumpeter Jason Palmer, drummers Hernan Hecht, Giovanni Figueroa, Francisco Mela, Alex Kautz, Codaryl Moffett.

He performs and leads the 'The Tyler Mitchell Trio' since it's founding in 2003, featuring Gabriel Hernandez and Alex Kautz. In 2005 Tyler Mitchell Quintet with Gabriel Hernandez.

In 2008 he starts 'The TamoTyler Experience' a psychedelic jazz band with singer-performer TaMo TuMa, Ken Basman, Hernan Hecht.

In 2012, he records his first CD as a leader "Tyler Mitchell Live At Smalls" for the Small's Live Record label. As of 2016, Tyler continues to be in demand as both a leader and sideman in NYC and Internationally."

-Tyler Mitchell Website (https://tylermitchelljazz.com/)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Elson Nascimento (Elson Dos Santos Nascimento) is a percussionist (mainly a surdo player) with the Sun Ra Arkestra since 1987.

-Discogs (https://www.discogs.com/artist/1309329-Elson-Nascimento)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Satellites Are Spinning / Lights On A Satellite 8:00

2. Seductive Fantasy 11:49

SIDE B



1. Angels And Demons At Play 7:05

2. Swirling 7:42

3. Sea Of Darkness / Darkness 5:16

SIDE C



1. Astro Black 4:51

2. Infinity / I'll Wait For You 9:18

3. Queer Notions 5:39

SIDE D



1. Rocket No. 9 5:00

2. Sunology 4:25

3. Door Of The Cosmos / Say 7:27

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Sun Ra
Large Ensembles
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Jazz & Improvisation Based on Compositions

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