Sun Ra & His Arkestra – A Fireside Chat with Lucifer

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An F-bomb saturated hip-hop call & response club cut...from Sun Ra?! While the most renowned track in this omniversal opus is the atomic expletive-filled repartee 'Nuclear War,' there is so much more to this dark mysterious journey through the mind of Sun Ra.

The sprawling, suite-like 20-minute title track sustains a lyrical edge in spite of an open framework and textures, which encourage sonorities to surface and emerge from the band as if there was no human intention behind them. In opposition to 'Nuclear War,' Ra's organ playing here was built less on bombast and sonic terror than it is on whispers, stutters, shivers, and swells. Fireside Chat offers a wide stylistic array, as was the artist's intent, reflecting his eclectic, seemingly irreconcilable approach to compositional extremes. With Sun Ra you get everything... except predictability.

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No personnel were listed on the original Fireside Chat with Lucifer LP. The following musicians are cited in Robert Campbell and Christopher Trent's The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra (2nd ed.) as having participated in the sessions that produced tracks for the albums Fireside Chat, Nuclear War and Celestial Love:

Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute
Walter Miller: trumpet
Vincent Chancey: French horn
Hayes Burnett (and possibly John Ore): bass
John Gilmore: tenor sax
James Jacson: bassoon, percussion
Danny Ray Thompson: baritone sax , flute
Samarai Celestial: drums
Tyrone Hill: trombone, vocal (1)
Atakatune: percussion
June Tyson: vocal (1)

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2014, Enterplanetary Koncepts
All tracks produced by Sun Ra
Recorded at Variety Studios, New York, September 1982

Sun Ra

Sun Ra was one of the greatest and least known jazz artists of the last four decades, whose influence on diverse musicians is little known to the general public. A pianist and band leader, his style ranged from retro swing to avant free, and often in the same piece. His band could play a swinging Gershwin tune and almost imperceptibly soar into their free cosmic equational tones as if they possessed a single mind. 

Ra was a keyboard improviser of great originality, but his foremost talent was for inspiring and teaching creative musicians to improvise freely but together. This tension between freedom and coherence was something he explored with abundant energy and skill. 

Sun Ra died in 1993. The Arkestra performs today, under the direction of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen.