Sun Ra The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra Vol. 2 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 horn players and bassist Ronnie Boykins have plenty of room to stretch out and take full advantage. "A House of Beauty" offers five minutes of relatively lyrical respite between the other tracks.
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 reissued in a special 50th Anniversary 1000-copy limited edition on Esperanto-green colored 180-gram vinyl. 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. More explorations of outer space by the spokesman for the space age.
It's worth getting the vinyl pressing of Volume 2 just for the iconic cover designed by Paul Frick, consisting of a German astronomical chart of the solar system and portraits of Sun Ra and famous astronomers.
Sun Ra (piano, tuned bongos)
Walter Miller (trumpet)
Robert Cummings (bass clarinet)
Marshall Allen (alto saxophone, flute, piccolo)
John Gilmore (tenor saxophone)
Pat Patrick (baritone saxophone)
Ronnie Boykins (bass)
Roger Blank (drums, percussion)