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Sun Ra: At The Showcase (Live In Chicago, 1976-1977)

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Sun Ra: At The Showcase (Live In Chicago, 1976-1977)
It is an unchallenged law of nature that wherever or whoever anyone happens to be when they encounter Sun Ra, they are certain to be somewhere and someone else after the meeting. That holds especially true of Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago.

Captured during two barn-burning performances at the Windy City's venerable Showcase Club in '76 and '77, this limited 2-LP, 2 CD set—released by the equally venerable Zev Feldman's Jazz Detective label to celebrate Record Store Day, April 20, 2024 —Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago finds the irascible galactic innovator in prime live form.

Never one to let preconceived notions of form or formality get in the way, Ra leads a loose, eighteen piece amalgamation which features Ra's fellow space travelers tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, Marshall Allen on alto sax, flute and kora, Danny Davis on flugelhorn, and Danny Ray Thompson on baritone sax, amongst the energized many.

Co-produced by Michael D. Anderson of the Sun Ra Music Archive, the set comes richly curated with vintage photos, an interview with Allen (who is still going strong at 99), and essays/memoirs from still-awed collaborators as Matthew Shipp, Reggie Workman, Jack DeJohnette, David Murray and others.

But it is the music of Ra and his cohorts which his audience are after, and Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago has plenty of that! "Calling Planet Earth & The Shadow World" screels and yowls, its hypnotic logic a captivating force. A barroom sing-along introduces "Moonship Journey" and Gilmore takes it well from there. The other horns swing on in as the trumpeters (Michael Ray, Ahmed Abdullah, and Emmett Mcdonald cut through and drummer Luqman Ali and bassist Richard Williams set the toe-tapping beat.

It is a love fest. It is a pensive yet riotous "View From Another Dimension." It is a head bopping nod to dance hall days with "Rose Room" as Ra comps cooly on electric keys and Gilmore blows free and fulsome. Ra drives his keyboard to mania on "Theme Of The Stargazers," leading to the natural, emphatic conclusion which is "Space Is The Place." Of course it is. Welcome to it.

Track Listing

CD1: New Beginning; View From Another Dimension; Synthesis Approach; Ankhnaton; Rose Room; Moonship Journey; Velvet. CD2: Calling Planet Earth & The Shadow World; Theme of the Stargazers; Space is the Place; Ebah Speaks in Cosmic Tongue; Greetings from the 21st Century.

Personnel

Sun Ra
piano
John Gilmore
saxophone, tenor
Marshall Allen
saxophone, alto
Danny Davis
flugelhorn
Eloe Omoe
clarinet, bass
Danny Thompson
saxophone, baritone
Michael Ray
trumpet
Vincent Chancey
french horn
Dale Williams
guitar, electric
Luqman Ali
percussion
Eddie Thomas
percussion
James Jacson
bassoon
June Tyson
vocals
Elo Omoe
saxophone, alto
Danny Ray Thompson
saxophone, baritone
Richard Allen Williams
bass, acoustic
Additional Instrumentation

Sun Ra: Electric Keyboards. Marshall Allen: Alto Sax; Flute; Kora. Elo Omoe: Bass Clarinet. Danny Ray Thompson: Flute. Vincent Chancey: French Horn. Eddie Thomas : Vocal. James Jacson: Ancient Ihnfinity drum; oboe. Atakatune: Congas.

Album information

Title: At The Showcase (Live In Chicago, 1976-1977) | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Jazz Detective


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