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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Sun Ra Arkestra

Jazz - Released May 21, 2021 | Cosmic Myth Records

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Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol. 1

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released March 20, 2020 | Cosmic Myth Records

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Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol. 2

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released March 20, 2020 | Cosmic Myth Records

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The Solar-Myth Approach Vol. 1

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released February 7, 2020 | Cosmic Myth Records

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The Solar-Myth Approach Vol. 2

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released February 7, 2020 | Cosmic Myth Records

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When Angels Speak of Love

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released November 15, 2019 | Cosmic Myth Records

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Sun Ra's music is often described as being so far outside the jazz mainstream as to be less a challenge to it than a largely irrelevant curiosity. But When Angels Speak of Love, an album recorded with his Myth Science Arkestra during rehearsals at the Choreographers Workshop in New York in 1963 and released on Ra's own Saturn label in 1966, is very much within then-current trends in jazz as performed by such innovators as John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. John Corbett, annotator of a later reissue, pointed out Ra's disdain for the term "free jazz," but this is music that fits into that style and even harks back to bebop on occasion. Walter Miller's trumpet playing on "The Idea of It All," for example, clearly indicates that he's been listening to Miles Davis, even as John Gilmore's squealing tenor suggests Coltrane, and, on "Ecstacy of Being," what Corbett calls Danny Davis' "excruciated alto" suggests Coleman. Ra himself frequently plays busy, seemingly formless passages that are reminiscent of Cecil Taylor. An even closer approximation of a traditional approach can be found on the relatively brief title track, a ballad that, while not exactly sweet, is surprisingly sober and expressive. Of course, that's followed by the band chanting "Next Stop Mars" and going off in all directions on the 18-minute final track. The album's rarity on vinyl may be not only because few copies were pressed initially, but also because this is a Sun Ra album that is more conventionally unconventional than most, with tracks you could program next to those of his 1960s contemporaries and have them fit right in. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Monorails and Satellites Vols. 1, 2 and 3

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released January 25, 2019 | Cosmic Myth Records

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God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be

Sun Ra

Jazz - Released March 23, 2018 | Cosmic Myth Records

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My Brother the Wind, Vol. 1 (Expanded, Remastered)

Sun Ra Arkestra

Jazz - Released August 11, 2017 | Cosmic Myth Records

My Brother the Wind is actually more a companion piece to Night of the Purple Moon than its Vol. 2 namesake. My Brother the Wind, Vol. 2 is split between Ra's solo Moog workouts and full Arkestra proceedings, while My Brother the Wind shares the same lineup as Night of the Purple Moon, with Marshall Allen's alto, piccolo, and flute substituting for Stafford James' electric bass. Ra plays two miniMoogs instead of miniMoog and Rocksichord, with Danny Davis on alto and clarinet and John Gilmore on drums. But while the focus on Night of the Purple Moon was on composed numbers, My Brother the Wind is a much freer session. The title cut is just Ra on his two miniMoogs and Gilmore on drums. One Moog has a bass type setting, while the other sounds something like whistling white noise (wind?). "Intergalaxtic II" is a full freakout session, with both altos going crazy in the right channel, Gilmore's drums in the left channel, and the miniMoogs in the center. "To Nature's God" is just Ra and Gilmore again. "The Code of Interdependence" has Ra really putting the Moogs through their paces, although Gilmore also gets some tenor space (with Danny Davis moving to the drums, presumably). If you're into the "out" side of Sun Ra, and like his singular and unorthodox Moog playing, try to find a copy of My Brother the Wind. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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The Magic City

Sun Ra Arkestra

Jazz - Released July 14, 2017 | Cosmic Myth Records

The boundaries of Sun Ra's self-proclaimed "space jazz" underwent a transformation in the mid-'60s. The Magic City is an aural snapshot of that metamorphic process. Many enthusiasts and scholars consider this to be among Ra's most definitive studio recordings. Although the "city" in the album's title was thought to have been New York -- where the disc was recorded -- it is actually Ra's earthly birthplace of Birmingham, AL. The Magic City consists of four free jazz compositions: the album side-length title track, "The Shadow World," "Abstract Eye," and "Abstract I" -- two variants of a common work. These pieces are essentially ensemble improvisations recorded live. Any direction from Ra, indicating the order of soloists for instance, would be given either through his playing or with hand signals. The title track begins with weaving distant and frenetic lines from Ronnie Boykins (bass) and Ra (piano, clavoline), connected by intermittent eruptions from Roger Blank (drums). All the while, Marshall Allen's dreamlike piccolo randomly maneuvers through the sonic haze. The piece also contains an ensemble onslaught that abruptly contrasts with everything experienced up through that point. In the wake of the innately earthbound "Magic City" are three comparatively shorter pieces with subtle undercurrents that return Ra to space motifs. For example, the importance of sonic contrast defines "The Shadow World" by juxtaposing the lightly churning bass and cymbal into some surreal keyboard interjections from Ra. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo