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Sun Ra & His Arkestra - Live At Montreux

From 1955, when Sun Ra began recording his Arkestra, one hears not only complex, irregular structures and model improvisation but miscellaneous percussion, odd meters and polyrhythms, electronic keyboards and the use of two keyboards at once. By the end of the 50s Sun Ra and his band were into the whole area of noise elements and collective sonic exploration, while his elaborate stage shows and vocal interludes paved the way for the currently popular Parliament/Funkadelic.


A Sun Ra concert is truly something else more than music and more than musical theater, it is a self-created and self-contained mythic universe. Two dozen men and women, dressed in outrageous space garb, carry on for hours without pause, spanning all of jazz history from staples of the original Duke Ellington or Fletcher Henderson books to ethereal child-like tunes and the outraged caterwaulings of the entire horn section.

SKU: IC1039

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From 1955, when Sun Ra began recording his Arkestra, one hears not only complex, irregular structures and model improvisation but miscellaneous percussion, odd meters and polyrhythms, electronic keyboards and the use of two keyboards at once. By the end of the 50s Sun Ra and his band were into the whole area of noise elements and collective sonic exploration, while his elaborate stage shows and vocal interludes paved the way for the currently popular Parliament/Funkadelic. A Sun Ra concert is truly something else more than music and more than musical theater, it is a self-created and self-contained mythic universe. Two dozen men and women, dressed in outrageous space garb, carry on for hours without pause, spanning all of jazz history from staples of the original Duke Ellington or Fletcher Henderson books to ethereal child-like tunes and the outraged caterwaulings of the entire horn section.

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Sun Ra
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Danny Davis, Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Chris Capers, Larry Bright, Stanley Morgan, Pat Patrick, Ahmed Abdullah, June Tyson, James "Ham" Jackson, Elo Omo, Vincent Chancey, Clifford Jarvis, Al Evans, Tony Bunn, Hayes Burnett
SKU IC1039

Reviews

Customer Reviews (2)

"Intergalactically Awesome!"Review by Big Toots
Quality
IC 1039 Live at Montreux Sun Ra and his arkestra

The great classical composer, Richard Wagner had a vision of something called a “gesamtkuntswerk” – a massive musical production that encompassed symphony orchestras, chorus, as well as operatic and other artistic components. Sun Ra’s performances – in their own sweet or perhaps sour way – were performances that went beyond the aural. They involved the visual and, for some, the visceral. This recording, taken live at Montreux (where audiences are more accommodating to musical extremes than our tastes domestically) is a double-dose of the genius-eccentric-savant-weirdo at his musical and theatrical best. It’s about the closest you’ll get to Wagner’s vision – albeit altered hallucinogenically.

To the uninitiated or unfair, Sun Ra’s material – both here and elsewhere - is the “A” Train flying off the tracks amid screeches, howls, squawks and a zillion other cacophonous sound effects. However, a more open mind and less critical ear might perceive the aural equivalent of Picasso or Pollack. Sun Ra is a true zero sum musical game; you either love the stuff or get it ready for Thursday’s pick-up.

Truly indescribable in its fierce totality, Sun Ra’s performance here has humor, viciousness and even some dry satiric elements (“For the Sunrise,” as in “The World is Waiting” for same). That same element goes in his two efforts on Duke’s classic. There, “he of the Angel Race,” (who many do not know) shows is a highly accomplished keyboardist/free composer. The effect is similar to a Warhol shot of Marilyn Monroe; you know who and what she is, but, you never looked at it that way before. And, when you do, you kick yourself for not seeing it that unique way before. When the arkestra (which soars here throughout) picks the express up, watch out and please step back from the platform, as you might get sucked into the fray.

“Sun Ra Live in Montreux” will be a challenge for virginal ears. However, like many things untried, after a take or two, things grow on you. No bossas here; it’s a Sun Ra supernova.

(Posted on 6/16/2015)
Live at MontreauxReview by Simon Sez
Quality
When listening to Sun Ra, it is best to forget about his bizarre ancient Egypt and science fiction philosophy and just concentrate on the music. Even then, some of Ra’s recordings are hard to get into because he was not only ahead of his time but often in a different time zone altogether.

That said, the music on the two CDs of Live At Montreux from 1976 is some of Sun Ra’s best. John Gilmore on tenor has plenty to say on “Take The ‘A’ Train, altoist Marshall Allen and baritonist Pat Patrick have their spots as does singer June Tyson, and the huge band includes bassoon, bass clarinet, two bassists and two drummers along with the horn sections. The music includes plenty of variety, all of it played Sun Ra’s way. This is one of his best albums and a lot easier to get into than most of his recordings.

Simon Sez: Sun Ra’s Live At Montreux (IC1039) has plenty of adventure and variety including an exciting version of “Take The ‘A’ Train.” (Posted on 5/6/2014)

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