Along with elder alum, alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, Sun Ra's Journey Featuring Marshall Allen, the second of bassist Tyler Mitchell's deep dives into Sun Ra's master playbook, breaks glorious from the start.
As an entry into the Smalls Live Living Masters Series, this octane-infused set was recorded live in 2022 at Smalls in NYC as the city began to cautiously emerge from eighteen months of pandemic-induced nightmare and doom. "Care Free" greets all fellow Arkestra crewmen and women with a throwback groove and blast of celebration that's real hard to resist. So listen in as Sun Ra's many veering strategies spring to life. "Velvet" swings like few do and recapitulates on the energy found in abundance on Mitchell/Allen's earlier release, Dancing Shadows (Mahakala).
Allen (whose storied association with Ra stretches back to the early days) spryly twists and luges, bobs and weaves with a mischievousness that gives no nod to his years (97 at the time of recording). Setting fire to the harmonic limitlessness that both men held in high honor and practice, Allen, whether on his horn or his EVI, leads the equally grounded yet elusive horns of tenor saxophonist Chris Hemingway, alto saxophonist Nicoletta Manzini, and trumpeter Giveton Gelin in a gleeful rout through "Dancing Shadows," "Eddie Harris" and "Bouncing At Smalls."
Close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like for Smalls to come out of exile to witness "Cosmic Hop" and try not kicking up your heels. Tyler and his rhythm brotherspianist Farid Barron, drummer Wayne Smith and percussionists Ron Mcbee and Elson Nacimentopunch and bolo. It's a joyous, carefree romp that blares into "Love In Outer Space" and the world is set in balance again.
Care Free; Velvet; Free Ballad; Dancing Shadows; Eddie Harris; Discipline 27; Bouncing At Smalls;
Skippy; New Dawn; Cosmic Hop; Love In Outer Space; Fate In A Pleasant Mood.
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