Saturday, March 08, 2014

Sun Ra - The Soul Vibrations Of Man (Saturn, 2012)

This is one of the more of the more more rare Sun Ra LP's, apparently recorded at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago during the late fall of 1977. On side one the music begins with flutes swirling along with barely perceptible percussion amid a decidedly murky recording quality. Suddenly, the drums pick up the pace and volume before cutting out and introducing Sun Ra's spoken word litany, "The Universe Speaks." Ra develops a call and response chant with hand claps that build into a combination revival meeting and space chant. Sun Ra counts off all of the plantes in the solar system and invokes heaven before he takes to the organ to end Part One. Part two ushers in the larger Arkestra with Ra's droning organ playing off against punchy trumpet. This continues until the saxophones enter and two of the band's heaviest hitters, altoist Marshall Allen and tenorist John Gilmore alternate between peals of some of the most ear-splittingly raw free playing with Ra's begin by comparison organ. This is an odd recording but it can be engaging at times, be it Sun Ra's slightly pretentious monologue to the scalding instrumental sections, all tied together by Ra's bizarre liner notes which speak of astrology and the search for the missing 13th zodiac sign. The Soul Vibrations Of Man -

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