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The Mystery of Two Interstellar Low-Ways Neo-Project #2 Cosmos Moonship Journey Journey Among The Stars Jazz From An Unknown Planet
|Instruments||Music and Musicians|
|Accompanist/ Conductor||trombonist - Craig Harris, french horn - Vincent Chancey, alto sax - Marshall Allen, Danny Davis, John Gilmore, Ahmed Abdullah, electric bass - R. Anthony Bunn,|
Customer Reviews (5)
- "An Intergalactic Trip!"Review by Big Toots
Since I first heard his work, I’ve had this kept-to-myself theory – and am willing to bet on it - that there are more than a handful of jazz musicians out there who are envious of Sun Ra and the members of his Arkestra. Where else can an artist be so free to explore and express their own unbounded creativity in an environment that brims and beams with freedom? It’s certainly not when one opts for the mercenary over Mercury.
With “Cosmos” (and in a way similar to author Carl Sagan’s mind-boggling, fact-filled television shows), Sun Ra metaphors the infinite boundaries – and beauties and ferocities - of the universe with that which emanates from the musical and percussive instruments he and his cohorts employ. And, he and the Arkestra soar on a musical trajectory that staggers the mind.
“Cosmos” is Sun Ra at his best. It is an infinity of textures that, while delivered free as a bird, surprisingly retains aural mirror images of almost every seminal element of “structured” jazz, from the most aboriginally primitive through Parker, Trane and beyond. “The Mystery of Two” and “Interstellar Low-Ways” set that tone immediately and the title cut cements that (“Cosmos”). To his credit Sun Ra does not produce “cosmic program music” (in the sense of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”). His compositions respect a listener’s prerogative to engage and wallow in their personal emotion and mental imagery (“Neo-Project #2” and “Moonship Journey,” complete with its vocal chants). The ensemble and the soloists here (whether working individually or collectively) are deeply embedded in the musical philosophy and approach.
“Cosmos” is a fascinating, enthralling recording, easily approachable, by the way, for new listeners’ ears. Who wouldn’t want to take a ride on this “Ra-cket?”
(Posted on 6/23/2015)
- CosmosReview by Simon Sez
On Cosmos, Ra and his 12-piece Arkestra play more swinging music than usual while still being mostly outside. Ra is heard on the “rocksichord,” an electric keyboard that probably no one else ever played. Among the stars on this album are trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, trombonist Craig Harris, John Gilmore on tenor, altoist Marshall Allen and Jac Jackson on bassoon. Don’t let the outer space trappings scare you off. This is adventurous if eccentric music that deserves to be checked out.
Simon Sez: Sun Ra’s music may be out of this world at times but on Cosmos (IC1020) much of the music is swinging if eccentric jazz. (Posted on 5/6/2014)
- More brilliance from the planet SaturnReview by bruklover
- The Stars Come Out To Swing on COSMOS! Review by Michael F. Hopkins
Recorded during some of the Arkestra's most extensive globetrotting of the mid-1970s, this European recording is Ra at his msot swingingly robust, and polytonally visionary. The watchword for this recording is smooth. Listen to "The Mystery Of Two", its stellar drive propelling a luxurious ride into deeper plains, or the renowned "Interstellar Low-Ways" exuding its eternal charm via its network of multiple flutes sighing a most winsome song. Trombonist Craig Harris -or is it French horn man Vincent Chancey?- is a knockout on "Two", matched only by the blistering alto of Marshall Allen -or Danny Davis?- to flesh out the significance of the song's title. Some of tenor titan John Gilmore's most breathtaking work begins here.
"Neo-Project#2" is a loping walk through some aural variations on the old cartoon about WACKYLAND, hinting all manner of playful mischief at hand. It can definitely happen here! Listen to trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah weave his bright lyricism through the song's many paths. Oh and, as you're listening, check out Ra on the "rocksichord", putting what could be a clavinet -or a plain ol' electric piano- through some deliciously baroque changes! R. Anthony Bunn struts his electric bass around the bend and back again on "Cosmos". The title piece is a quick-stepping, finger-popping romp which showcases Gilmore at his most equestrian; slapping that diamond-clean sound into center track without losing a moment's stride, leaping tall in the saddle at solo's peak. What a ride!
After the warming chant of the friendly "Moonship Journey", spin into the astral musings of "Journey Among The Stars", and don't be surprised if its gentle sweep places you some galaxies or dreamscapes away. Dig the minuet imagery that Ra conjures into your inner ear! If you aren't enchanted by this time, "Jazz From An Unknown Planet" strolls the spell straight home. One of the deadliest vamps ever conceived, COSMOS' climax may stir images of Oliver Nelson's acclaimed "Stolen Moments" even as the Arkestra makes its own stake on the theme of cultural reclamation, and aesthetic assertion. Abdullah paints a beautiful tapestry of color and rhapsody, doing Woody Shaw proud while forming a deep perspective all his own. Gilmore soars in and testifies, sound pronouncements a solid baptismal for all which you have never been told of.
Anyone who thinks that Ra's tighter orchestrations ended by 1960, when the Arkestra left Chicago, listen to COSMOS and -once you've picked your jaw up from the floor!- be enlightened.
Know your myth. Shape your reality. (Posted on 5/5/2014)
- From AllMusic.comReview by Ron Wynn
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