Sun Ra Arkestra: Music From Tomorrow's World (2003)
All of the material on Music From Tomorrow's World, recorded by Sun Ra in Chicago in 1960, is brand new to wax. The first half of the disc, Live At The Wonder Inn , begins with three Ra compositions, the first two featuring the lovely flutes of Marshall Allen and George Hudson (uncredited) over a tranquil, forward moving groove. As one might expect, John Gilmore is present and his fans should be thrilled with his engaging solo on “Space Aura” and his bop-inspired lines of the fast-paced chestnut, “How High The Moon.” The band lends its group vocal talents to the Gershwins' “'S Wonderful” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” both featuring, yes, more Gilmore flights. While the sextet sounds a bit ragged at times and one audience member near the microphone feels the need to engage a running commentary with anyone who will listen, the disc is a vivid document of the era.
The Majestic Hall Session, comprising the second half of the disc, is even more obscure. Apparently culled from a rehearsal tape, the focus here is on Ra originals, particularly four unknowns (“Majestic 1-4”) as well as his octet arrangements. While John Gilmore leads the way here as well, the highlight is the presence of baritone saxophonist Ronald Wilson, who contributes both excellent solo statements and solid ensemble work. The beautiful ballad “Majestic 1,” for instance, provides Wilson with plenty of room for his melodicism. The third track, “Possession,” follows a similar stylistic approach and features a gorgeous Gilmore solo, while Wilson adds striking originality to both “Tapestry From An Asteroid” and the swinging “Majestic 2.”
Perhaps the strongest track of the session is the tightly arranged “Majestic 4,” featuring the solo voices of cornetist Phil Cohran, Gilmore and Wilson, as well as the energetically propulsive drumming of Robert Barry. As a parting note, the potential listener should know that the entire disc has pretty awful sound. However, once one’s ears adjust, the magnificent performances make up for the lapse in fidelity.
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Track Listing: 1. Angels and Demons at Play 2. Spontaneous Simplicity 3. Space Aura 4. S'wonderful 5. It Ain't Necessarily So 6. How High the Moon 7. China Gate 8. Majestic 1 9. Ankhnaton 10. Posession 11. Tapestry from an Asteroid 12. Majestic 2 13. Majestic 3 14. Majestic 4 15. Velvet 16. A Call for All Demons 17. Interstellar Lo-Ways (Introduction)
Personnel: John Gilmore - tenor saxophone; Marshall Allen - flute, alto saxophone; Ronnie Boykins - bass; Robert Barry - drums; Phil Cohran - cornet; Gene Easton - alto saxophone; Jon Hardy - drums; George Hudson - trumpet; Ricky Murray - vocals; Sun Ra - percussion, piano, electric piano; Ronald Wilson - baritone saxophone