"These rehearsal tapes are anything but demo recordings. They are the building blocks for live performances, extended arranged samples. Sun Ra's constant rehearsals were more than just practice. The music here is meditative, soul nurturing medicine." - Mark Corroto, All About Jazz
One might think, with a discography as extensive as the one Sun Ra boasts, that the scope of his work has been fully apprehended by this point, but The Intergalactic Thing demonstrates its seemingly bottomless depths. This is not a complete surprise: anyone who saw Ra and the Arkestra perform will remember the sight of the band quickly shuffling through an imposingly thick stack of sheet music, when Sunny would call the next tune on the program with an encrypted hint on his keyboard. Band members tell stories of spending long hours practicing a newly-written composition, only to never play it again. Here, we have a taste of what’s been hidden: drawn from rehearsals at the Sun Ra house in Philadelphia from 1969, The Intergalactic Thing introduces a dozen never-before-heard pieces from Ra’s songbook – tunes that may have never even made it to the bandstand, let alone the recording studio – along with a handful of reworkings of such Ra classics as “Spontaneous Simplicity” and “The Exotic Forest.” Without a doubt, this is one of the most important augmentations to the Sun Ra catalog in many a moon.
Danny Davis / saxophone, flute, percussion
Marshall Allen / saxophone, oboe, flute, percussion
Danny Ray Thompson / saxophone, percussion
Alex Blake / bass
Keno Speller / congas
Rashid Salim IV / congas
Lex Humphries / drums
Nimrod Hunt / drums
Sun Ra / organ, clavinet
James Jacson / percussion
Charles Stephens / trombone, percussion
Akh Tal Ebah / percussion, trumpet, mellophone
Recorded August - November 1969, Sun Studios, Philadelphia, PA
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download.
1. The Others From Another World - 3:25
2. Spontaneous Simplicity - 2:03
3. Dance Of The Distant Star -6:57
4. The State Of Things To Come - 2:12
5. The Second Stop Is Jupiter - 2:09
6. Horoscope Prelude - 3:43
7. Discipline Of The Pharaohs - 9:50
8. Latent Friends - 2:27
9. Moon Over Saturn - 1:52
10. Principles Of The Pharaohs - 8:08
11. Saturn Moon - 4:36
12. The Last Unknown - 8:06
13. In, Over And Under - 9:55
14. Calling Out To Saturn - 5:16
15. From Here To There - 2:38
16. The Exotic Forest - 7:16
17. Do The Intergalactic Thing - 7:42
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.