Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Sun Ra - Discipline 27-II (Saturn, 1973)

This is one of the out of print Saturn LP's I picked up in the recent vine. Recorded in a Chicago studio in late 1972, this record features several Ra lifers including John Gilmore, Pat Patrick, Marshal Allen and June Tyson.

This disc is broken up like many of Ra's projects into a set of shorter pieces on one side and a longer composition or suite on the second side of the second. In this case, the compositions on the first side, "Pan Afro" and "Discipline 8" combine set arrnagements cued by Ra's electric keyboard with free blowing by the soloists. The final tune on side one, "Neptune" has a male vocalist talking about the "news from Neptune" over an Arkestra accompanyment.

The epic on this release is the title track "Discipline 27-II" where Ra and a chorus of female backup singers led by June Tyson debate the nature of reality over a mid tempo arrangement of the Arkestra. There are very few solos on this section and the call and response spoken vocals dominate.

The Sun Ra discography notes "The album (unusually for a Saturn) was reviewed in Down Beat, 41 (1), 1/17/74, by Ray Townley, who called it a "lackluster session" and said "the worst feature... is the random slicing of the long title cut" into several bands, apparently in an effort to get airplay. It's not quite that bad, in fact there are several interesting passages. Ra's philosophy does get a little tiresome on the long title cut, but overall, this is an interesing record and deserves to be re-released.

Rating: 7.5

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