Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra on Planet Earth 1914-2014 (Not Now Music)

Reissue prompt - I listen to Sun Ra again. 

Here are The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra from '61 and Super-Sonic Jazz ('56) on a cheap-as-chips double CD by a label that specialises in repackaging the past. It's the kind of thing you see in Fopp and cannot resist - '"Ooh, look, four MJQ albums in one case!" Even if you have them all on vinyl...so convenient! So you sell the vinyl and get 50p per album then realise that, actually, it was great to have the records in their original form rather than part of collected tracks which merge together causing you to forget which album they were on. Perhaps that doesn't matter in an age when all music is part of a huge library of files through which the machine shuffles, making your choices for you. Let's see what it chooses after Sun Ra's India...

...Mika Vanio's Load from the Kilo album! Well, it's all right with me, as Philip Marlowe (played by Elliott Gould) liked to say in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye

So that's the space-age Jazz/ modern electronics connection....it often crops up when I'm shuffling. There's a connection in my mind, anyway, if not precisely musical, then theoretically...ideally...I fuse Sun Ra with electronic music today.

Hold on, how about this? Here's Sun Ra in 1956 playing the electric piano on India and other tracks! You know what? I'd forgotten about the fact that he was that far ahead. We know he was not only far ahead but far Out There yet this example still surprised me. Damn. I wish I could remember stuff like that. Still, Google and specifically Wikipedia remember it for us wholesale, don't they? I wish there was a comprehensive biography about me on Wikipedia, then I could check to see when things happened. It would be private, naturally, because I don't want you knowing that I once *************************************** ********(top secret).

This package is a great place to go for beginners. Nothing scary here, which is not to say there's no suggestion of things to come, such as tracks on The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra. Like Where Is Tomorrow, which brilliantly skirts the outer limits of ol' time swinging boogie whilst always sounding as if it could career off into free improvisation at any minute. Or The Beginning, a precursor to long percussion jams the Akestra would play 'live' over decades to come. And with a triple sax line-up of Marshall Allen,
John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, well, you know, that's that taken care of, isn't it?

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