Sun Ra and his Arkestra - In The Orbit of Ra
- Stewart Smith
- 5 September 2014
Magnificent space-jazz compilation selected by current Arkestra leader Marshall Allen
To listen to Sun Ra's music is to travel the spaceways, spending Plutonian nights dancing with cosmo-aliens, and tuning into the latest news from Neptune. Sun Ra's astro-black mythology is science-fiction at its most potent, challenging racist American society with the idea of black people reaching for the stars. This vision animates music so innovative it still sounds like the future. Selected by current Arkestra leader Marshall Allen for Sun Ra's centenary, this magnificent compilation runs the gamut from eccentric big band jazz and space-age exotica to cosmic grooves and astonishing electronic freakouts. Take 'Astro Black', where squalling horns, solar flare electronics and thunderous timpani thrust June Tyson's imperious vocals into the stratosphere. Or the unreleased 'Trying To Put The Blame On Me', where Sun Ra sings a poignant Saturnian blues at the piano. There are worlds they have not told you of: Sun Ra takes you there.