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Album Review

Sun Ra: Lanquidity (2 x CD Edition)

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Sun Ra: Lanquidity (2 x CD Edition)
When it comes to Sun Ra, the elephant in the room—or perhaps the intergalactic space frigate orbiting your sound system—is how many musicians in the band were bombed out on acid during a typical recording session? By all accounts, Ra ran a tight spaceship and drugs, mind expanding or numbing, were strictly off limits. Then again, Frank Zappa was a similarly sober micro-manager, but bandmembers' memoirs have revealed what anyone with ears has suspected for decades: namely that weed and acid were frequently, though surreptitiously, on the Mothers of Invention's menu.

Lanquidity does nothing to reveal the drug-free or otherwise state of the band. The album sounds as gloriously out of its tree as everything else Ra and the Arkestra recorded; perhaps even more so, because it was, apart from a few sketchy horn charts, composed during a late night jam session, during which the band was atypically off the leash. As the woman in the deli said when Meg Ryan faked having an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally, "I'll have what she's having," or not having, as the case may be.

No two, or anyway very few, of Ra's many albums sound the same as another, and Lanquidity is as singular as anything else in the canon. Recorded in 1978, some Ra aficionados have been pretty snooty about it, writing it off as jazz-funk going on contemporaneous Return to Forever fusion. Lyrical and in the most part extremely laid back, it has elements of both those things; but it is unmistakably a Ra project from beginning to end, with plenty of unscripted outer-limits soloing from alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, baritone saxophonist Danny Thompson, trumpeter Eddie Gale and Ra himself on ARP, Fender Rhodes, Yamaha organ, Hammond B3 organ, Moog Minimoog, acoustic piano, Crumar electronic keyboard and bells. It is, in short, a lovely post-coital / post-orbital album and nothing to be snooty about at all.

Originally released by Philly Jazz and reissued by Evidence in 2000, this latest incarnation is a 4 x LP / 2 x CD affair which includes both the Philly Jazz / Evidence version and another black-label pressing with the same mix but from a different master, a few copies of which Ra sold at gigs before the Philly Jazz release was on the market. This alternate version is around four minutes longer than the Philly Jazz / Evidence one, which lasts just over forty-three minutes, and because of its extra length the mastering engineer chose to reduce the channel separation and bass content to accommodate it more comfortably on a twelve-inch LP. Most of the extra playing time comes at the end of track three, "That's How I Feel." Ra completists will value having it in their collection.

Track Listing

Lanquidity; Where Pathways Meet; That's How I Feel; Twin Stars Of Thence; There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of).

Personnel

Sun Ra: piano; Marshall Allen: saxophone, alto; John Gilmore: saxophone, tenor; Julian Presley: saxophone, baritone; James Jacson: bassoon; Ego Omoe: clarinet, bass; Eddie Gale: trumpet; Michael Ray: trumpet; Richard Allen Williams: bass, acoustic; Disco Kid: guitar, electric; Dale Williams: guitar, electric; Luqman Ali: percussion; Danny Thompson: saxophone, baritone; Artau Katune: percussion; Michael D. Anderson (ex-Sun Ra Arkestra): percussion.

Additional Instrumentation

Sun Ra: ARP, Fender Rhodes, Yamaha organ, Hammond B3 organ, Moog Minimoog, acoustic piano, Crumar electronic keyboard, bells; Marshall Allen: alto saxophone, flute; John Gilmore: tenor saxophone; Danny Thompson: baritone saxophone, flute; Julian Presley: baritone saxophone; Ego Omoe: bass clarinet, flute; Eddie Gale: trumpet; Michael Ray: trumpet, flugelhorn; Disco Kid: guitar; Dale Williams: guitar; Richard Williams: bass; Luqman Ali: percussion; Artau Katune: percussion; Michael Anderson: percussion. Ethnic Voices: Sun Ra, June Tyson, James Jacson, Eddie Tahmahs.

Album information

Title: Lanquidity (2 x CD Edition) | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Strut Records


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