The warmth and funkiness of Sleeping Beauty and On Jupiter have long made them favorites with Sun Ra fans. Recordings for the two albums took place at New York's Variety Recording Studios on three separate dates during 1979 and both records are highpoints of the Arkestra's 1970s journey. Sleeping Beauty is one of the most profound and compelling sets in the whole Ra discography, and the Variety Studio sound captures the Arkestra with unique clarity and depth. Recorded with an expanded 28-piece band, the album features woozy avant-ballad "Springtime Again," the glittering future funk of "Door to the Cosmos," and finally the stunning meditative, spiritualized groove of "Sleeping Beauty."
By the late 1970s the Saturn record label had become a musical newspaper, keeping the world abreast of the latest developments in the Sun Ra story, for those people lucky or persistent enough to find the few outlets where the albums were appearing. Sun Ra was releasing more records on his own label than ever before – at least six Saturn LPs document his activities in 1979 alone. This however, is the first reissue of any 1979 Saturn album, and will be widely welcomed – Sleeping Beauty instantly became one of Sun Ra's best loved records, and remains so to this day.
All three tracks on Sleeping Beauty have tenor solos by John Gilmore which can count among his finest work. Other musicians' work is also very worthy of note: Vincent Chancey's French horn in particular. The overall textures of the arrangements and also the sound of this particular Arkestra, are unique, found on no other Sun Ra album. The electric guitar and bass also play a critical role in driving the music, with hypnotic electric piano, organ and vibe lines that flow with gentle restraint and some beautiful sax solos from Gilmore and Marshall Allen. This album features gospel-like vocals from the wonderful June Tyson and Rhoda Blount helping to establish the spiritual and mystical foundation of Sun Ra's music – a totally uplifting and joyous listening experience.