Roaratorio’s survey of the unheard Sun Ra continues with Sun Embassy. Consisting of recordings from Sun Studios (aka Ra’s house in Philadelphia) from 1968-1969, the album features nine tracks : six compositions which have never been heard before in any form, plus fresh coats of paint on such 1950s classics as “Sunology” and “Ancient Aiethiopia,” and an early rendition of “Why Go To The Moon?”. Essential listening for Sun Ra devotees.
Danny Davis / alto saxophone (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2, B4, B5) flute (tracks: B1, B2)
Marshall Allen / alto saxophone (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2-B5) flute (tracks: A1, A4, B1, B2) piccolo flute (tracks: B4, B5)
Ronnie Boykins / bass
Danny Ray Thompson / bongos, flute (tracks: B1)
John Gilmore / clarinet, tenor saxophone (tracks: A3, A4, B2-B5)
Sun Ra / clavinet (tracks: A2, A4) organ (tracks: A3, B1, B3-B5) space master (tracks: B2)
Carl Malone aka Nimrod Hunt / congas (tracks: B1)
Lex Humphries / drums (tracks: A1, A3, B4, B5)
Charles Stevens / trombone (tracks: A4)
Walter Miller / trumpet (tracks: B2)
"The Stranger" recorded 1968-05-14.
"Dance of Fire" and "Cosmic Strut" recorded 1968-06-21.
"Why Go To The Moon?" and "Ancient Aethiopia" recorded 1968-08-08.
"Walk Around Saturn" recorded 1969-06-28.
"My Reality Is Real," "Sun Embassy," and "Sunology" recorded 1969-10-21.
Produced by Michael D. Anderson. Artwork by Emily Kaplan. Recorded at Sun Studios 1968-69)
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download.
A1. The Stranger - 5:26
A2. Dance Of Fire - 6:49
A3. My Reality Is Real - 2:39
A4. Cosmic Strut - 6:19
B1. Sun Embassy - 3:28
B2. Walk Around Saturn - 5:40
B3. Sunology - 2:27
B4. Why Go To The Moon? - 3:57
B5. Ancient Aethiopia - 4:07
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.