Sun Ra - The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 1 (1965)

The German Happy Bird label issued this pirate of Heliocentric Worlds, Vol. 1 (1965) during the mid-'80s when the majority of Sun Ra platters were not widely available. Surprisingly, one distinct disparity is the radically improved sound quality of Other Worlds (1983), allowing greater attention to the subtle detail in the overtones and interplay. These seven sides became the first of what many free and avant-garde jazz enthusiasts had heard from Ra. At the heart of his post-bop performances is the flexibility of the support from the Arkestra, whose percussive talents were equal only to their unquestionable abilities on other respective instruments. The probing nature of longer selections such as "Outer Nothingness" and "The Cosmos" contrasts "Of Heavenly Things," providing Ra a chance to steer the combo's intrepid excursions from the all-too-rare perspective of a percussionist. His tympani leads motivate the cut, which is also highlighted by Ronnie Boykins (bass) and John Gilmore (tenor sax). All the more impressive is the consistent level of improvisational skills that each member brings to the ensemble. Jimmy Johnson's (drums) timekeeping ranges from appropriately propulsive and bombastic to a spurious foil for Ra's seemingly maniacal prodding. Indeed, this material solidifies the progression that the bandleader had made from his former tuneful, yet ever intricate big-band type of arrangements. While Sun Ra and His Arkestra may not be for everyone, parties whose tastes fall within Ra's unique realm are encouraged to locate Other Worlds and/or The Sun Myth (1983), which replicates the running order of Heliocentric Worlds, Vol. 2 (1965).

1 comment:

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