182

The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab: In Egypt

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Sun Ra enthusiasts take note: there are 36 minutes of the Man from Saturn and his Arkestra on this disc - the length of a good LP in the old days. Plus, how can any Saturnian resist the lure of a Ra disc recorded in the shadow of the Sphinx herself, right in Cairo? Top it off with 33 more minutes of Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band, and you've got a real treat.

This is Ra in 1983 and 1984, sounding surprisingly close to the tight Ra band of the Fifties, rather than to the later, looser ensembles. To be sure, there isn't a lot of intricate ensemble work on these three Ra tracks, but the heads do have a bit of a throwback bop feel. Plus, "Egypt Strut" and "Dawn" both feature John Gilmore solos of terrific architectonic coherence and passion, and Marshall Allen chimes in on flute just as mellifluously. The Sun himself contributes a keyboard solo of ringing power on "Egypt Strut." "Watusa," meanwhile, is a feast of percussion in the grand Ra fashion.

The Cairo jazz ensembles, which range from 21 members ("Ramadan") to five ("Oriental Mood,") hold up their end of the disc wonderfully. This is energetic and deeply sincere jazz with a marvelous Middle Eastern feel, complete with chanting on "Ramadan." All the instrumentalists are first-rate, especially pianist Khamis El Khouly, especially on "A Farewell Theme."

A great one. A feast. Don't miss it.

Track listing: Egypt Strut / Dawn / Watusa / Ramadan / Oriental Mood / A Farewell Theme / Music for Angela Davis.


Title: In Egypt | Year Released: 1999


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Gentle Giants" CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Aerial" CD/LP/Track Review Aerial
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "We Know Not What We Do" CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "The Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review The Unknown
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Upbeat And Sweet" CD/LP/Track Review Upbeat And Sweet
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 13, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.