Friday, December 26, 2008

Sun Ra - Horizon (Art Yard, 2008)

While touring Europe in 1971, Sun Ra decided to take his band to one of the places that had always inspired him: Egypt. Landing in the country, the band had no contacts and no instruments, but where there is a will, there is a way, and soon the band was playing well received concerts, like this performance recorded live in Cairo. Anchored by Ra on "tiger organ" and mini-moog, this was a strong band featuring the great saxophones of John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, and the vocals of June Tyson. This is a wonderfully inspired performance, evenly split between lengthy free jazz blowouts like "The Shadow World", an awesome near seventeen minute performance of blasting rhythm, and the abstract and daunting abstract improvisations of "Discipline #2" and "Discipline #8." Melody and vocals lead charming performances of Ra classics like "The Satellites Are Spinning," "Enlightenment" and "Space is the Place." The band is in wonderful form throughout and the sound quality is solid, taken from a radio broadcast. The Art Yard label takes its Sun Ra projects seriously, and this is wonderful music presented with great care and it is a treat for Ra fans.

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