Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sun Ra - The Paris Tapes, 1971 (Art Yard, 2010)

Since the end of the re-issue series of Sun Ra recordings by Evidence Records, many groups have picked up the mantle and continued to release material, some legally and some a bit less so. The British label Art Yard (along with Atavistic) do a wonderful job releasing material in a fine manner, with excellent sound quality and informative liner notes and photographs. Keyboardist, composer and raconteur Sun Ra and his Arkestra were in excellent form when they performed at the Theatre Du Chatelet in Paris during 1971. The leader in particular sounds very inspired, as he takes to a bank of keyboards and synthesizers, particularly on a couple of untitled solos from the end of the concert that would lead any progressive rock maven with their head spinning. The rest of the band sounds excellent as well with tight ensemble passages and some vicious free form blowing from the likes of saxophonists Marshall Allen and John Gilmore. Under-rated vocalist June Tyson is featured on a couple of tracks, like Ra’s epic chant “Space is the Place” where she is joined by a male band member (Ra himself?) and the hypnotic “Somebody Else’s Idea.” “Discipline 27” and “Discipline Unknown Number” are full band improvisations, tightly structured while at the same time reaching for the stars. There is a plethora of Sun Ra material available, and this makes a fine addition and moves to near the head of the class on the basis of a well recorded performance, excited audience and simply wailing band. Paris Tapes -

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