Home » Jazz Articles » Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is The Place (Mus...


Album Review

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is The Place (Music From The Original Soundtrack)


Sign in to view read count
Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is The Place (Music From The Original Soundtrack)
Do not expect The Criterion Collection to reissue the 1974 film Space Is The Place anytime soon. It is though, a cult classic in the truest sense of the word. Sun Ra and his Arkestra had been at the forefront of avant-garde music, developing and refining his vision since the 1950s. Today listeners are most likely acquainted with Ra's claims of being from Saturn and his mission to save our doomed planet. Back in the late 1960s and early 70s his concepts must have been eccentric and quite strange. Admittedly Ra's ideology, which we now call Afrofuturism, has been adopted and adapted by musicians such as George Clinton and his Parliament and Funkadelic ensembles, Afrika Bambaataa and Herbie Hancock.

This beautifully detailed box set (either 3 LP or 2 CD) contains the film both in DVD and Blu—ray formats, restoring it to its original eighty-four length. Space Is The Place is a combination of science fiction, blaxploitation and Ra pedagogy. Sun Ra arrives in Oakland, California via a spaceship to battle The Overseer, a pimp and CIA/NASA henchman who enslaves modern-day African Americans. The Black residents of Oakland are eventually teleported off the planet by Ra after an assassination attempt on the pianist's life during a concert. The bonus content includes a music video of Ra and Arkestra members manipulating psychedelic colors and stars, Rick Russo's account of his organizing performance between John Cage and Sun Ra, the exotica music of Sun Ra, Michael D. Anderson's recollections of his time with the Arkestra and a cartoon music video adaptation of Ra's composition "A Fireside Chat With Lucifer."

The accompanying soundtrack to the film (not to be confused with the 1973 Blue Thumb records and subsequent Impulse! Records release of the same name) first released on CD by Evidence Records in 1993 is presented uncut at seventy-three-plus minutes of music on either two LPs or one CD. The second LP/CD contains 40 minutes of unreleased music from the soundtrack recording session, plus the CD version adds an additional track, "The Idea Of The Greater Age." Both formats include essays from the scholars Alex Zamalin, Ytasha L. Womack and John F. Szwed.

The soundtrack features the well-known compositions "Calling Planet Earth," "Satellites Are Spinning," "Outer Spaceways Incorporated," "Love In Outer Space" and "Space Is The Place," All delivered by Ra's keyboards and his Arkestra with the command vocals of June Tyson. Ra speaks and performs on piano, keyboards, and the then space-age instruments, the mini-Moog, farfisa, and clavinet. The Arkestra includes the legendary members John Gilmore, Marshall Allen and Danny Ray Thompson.

Perhaps of greater interest is the accompanying disc of unreleased material from the recording session titled The Mathematics Of The Altered Destiny. Here we are presented with extended music tracks and Ra's pontifications. His speeches are echoed by Tyson's retorts and are supplemented by bursts of free jazz brass, reeds and percussion barrages. Ra would expand upon these thoughts in his writings and music for the next twenty years until his departure from this planet in 1993.

Track Listing

It's After The End Of The World; Under Different Stars; Discipline 33; Watusa; Calling Planet Earth; I Am The Alter-Destiny; Satellites Are Spinning; Cosmic Forces; Outer Spaceways Incorporated; We Travel The Spaceways; The Overseer; Blackman / Love In Outer Space; Mysterious Crystal; I Am The Brother Of The Wind; We'll Wait For You; Space Is The Place; The Mathematics Of The Altered Destiny; Listen Intently To The Things I Do Not Say; Creation Is Fabrication; My World Is The Space Way; The Idea Of The Greater Age.


Sun Ra: piano; Sun Ra And His Arkestra: band / orchestra; Marshall Allen: saxophone, alto; June Tyson: voice / vocals; John Gilmore: saxophone, tenor; Danny Davis: flugelhorn; Eloe Omoe: clarinet, bass; Danny Ray Thompson: saxophone, baritone; Kwame Hadi: trumpet; Larry Norhington: saxophone, alto; Wayne Harris: voice / vocals; Lex Humphries: drums; Ken Moshesh: congas.

Additional Instrumentation

John Gilmore: drums, percussion, vocals; Marshall Allen: flute, oboe, bassoon, kora, cowbell, percussion; Danny Davis: flue, bass clarinet, percussion; Else Omoe: bongos, percussion; Danny Ray Thompson: percussion; Kwame Hadi: congas, vibraphone; Larry Norhington : congas, percussion.

Album information

Title: Space Is The Place (Music From The Original Soundtrack) | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



John La Barbera
Cry Me A River
Hilario Duran
Oblong Aplomb
Matt Mitchell
The Defector
Henry Spencer


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Pharoah (Box Set)
Pharoah Sanders
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.