Sun Ra and His Arkestra CD review [Unheard Music/Atavistic]

Music Reviews
Sun Ra and His Arkestra CD review [Unheard Music/Atavistic]
Nov 5, 2002, 21:40

SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA Music From Tomorrow's World CD

Sun Ra and his Arkestra's activities in Chicago during the late 50's are well documented on the Evidence label's program of Saturn reissues (Fate In A Pleasant Mood, Interstellar Low Ways, Jazz In Silhouette, Holiday For Soul Dance , etc) but the stars aligned in a different order during the two live sets that are combined on Music From Tomorrow's World.

The first set was recorded during the Arkestra's year long stint as house band at the Wonder Inn Tavern and includes a greater helping of standards than their studio sessions of the time which were used primarily to document original Ra compositions. Functioning as a sextet, the Arkestra performed a loose, casual set that lacked the mania which characterized their larger, brass and percussion heavy configurations. The informal atmosphere lent itself well to more exuberant numbers like the fast pedaling “Space Aura” and the otherwise undocumented cover of “How High The Moon.”

For the second live session Arkestra core members Ra, Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and Ronnie Boykins were joined by a different group of musicians who provided a fuller sound with more horn voices. Though the sound quality is rough Music From Tomorrow's World is a welcome addition to Ra's extensive discography as it includes four previously unheard Arkestra compositions.

At the close of the fifties opportunities for jazz musicians in Chicago were decreasing and in the year that followed the making of these recordings key members of the Arkestra set off for the East Coast; leaving behind members and the influence that was used to kickstart the AACM; the next groundbreaking jazz collective in Chicago. [Unheard Music/Atavistic]

- Jeffrey L. Ouch

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