Sun Ra The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra Vol. 1 on Numbered Limited Edition Colored 180g LP
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When Walt Whitman wrote, "I am vast; I contain multitudes," he could have been channeling Sun Ra. The man born Herman Blount in Alabama, who claimed he was from Saturn, was equally at home reviving Fletcher Henderson compositions based on their original arrangements or unleashing totally free-form, athematic group improvisation - and many styles in between. It was practically a given that a New York-based (as he was in the '60s) avant-jazz performer as colorful and eccentric as Sun Ra would end up on ESP-Disk.
The 1965 sessions that produced the two volumes of Heliocentric Worlds came during the most extremely free-form period of Ra's career, contemporaneous with The Magic City (Saturn Records). Volume 1, recorded in April with an 11-member band, consisted of seven relatively short tracks (none over eight minutes); recorded in November with an octet, Volume 2, in contrast, was much freer and featured the side-long "The Sun Myth" (over 17 minutes in length) and "Cosmic Chaos" (14+).
The astonishing sessions that went light years beyond "free jazz" improvisation to create a music of deeply-felt, explosive and gentle gesture made from sound itself without reference to previous notions of melody or harmony are now issued in a special 50th Anniversary 1000-copy limited edition on Esperanto-green colored 180-gram vinyl with Sun Ra’s original, self-created cover art. Recorded by Richard Alderson on April 20, 1965, this set of tunes finds Sun Ra breaking ground by using synthesizers and having the Arkestra musicians double on percussion.
"Ra released most of his several dozen records of the '60s on his own El Saturn imprint (and mostly just sold them at his shows), but the two Heliocentric Worlds albums, both recorded in 1965, appeared on the iconoclastic ESP-Disk label, and propagated his music to a wider audience of listeners who were open to freakiness. Both volumes are improvisations by subgroups of the Arkestra (directed by Ra), and even at their most dissonant, they're playful and spacious..." - Douglas Wolk, #9 on Spin's "The Top 100 Alternative Albums of the 1960s"
Sun Ra: Bass Marimba, Electronic Celeste, Piano, Tympani (“Outer Nothingness”)
Pat Patrick: Baritone, Percussion (except “Other Worlds”)
John Gilmore: Tenor, Tympani (“Heliocentric”, “Of Heavenly Things”)
Marshall Allen: Picolo, Alto, Bells, Spiral Cymbal (“The Cosmos”)
Ronnie Boykins: Bass
Teddy Nance: Trombone
Jimhmi Johnson: Percussion (“Other Worlds” ,”The Cosmos”), Tympani (“The Cosmos”)
Robert Cummings: Bass Clarinet, Wood Blocks
Chris Capers: Trumpet
Bernard Pettaway: Bass Trombone
Danny Davis: Flute, Alto (Ensemble)