All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Sun Ra & His Astro-Ihnfinity Arkestra: The Intergalactic Thing

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
If you are a Sun Ra devotee, let's not use the terms "fanatic" or "zealot," you probably measure your collection in board feet instead of inches. Unlike many jazz legends of the 1950s, and 1960s, Herman Sonny Blount had the foresight to record his ensemble's rehearsals and concerts. He even established his own label El Saturn Records in 1957. Yes, nineteen-fifty-seven, when other jazz giants were bound to onerous contracts with major labels, Ra was producing what we now have as hundreds of studio, concert, and rehearsal recordings.

The Intergalactic Thing, a 2 LP release (with downloads) is a collection of rehearsals taped in the fall of 1969 at Ra's home studio in Philadelphia. The studio was also his home and the home of most of his Arkestra, here called the Astro- Ihnfinity Arkestra. Note the spelling. Earlier in the year, most of this ensemble performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and the National Jazz Festival. The subsequent releases by his Astro-Infinity Arkestra, on his El Saturn Research Records, included the noteworthy discs Atlantis (1969), My Brother The Wind (1970), and Sound Sun Pleasure!! (1970).

These rehearsal tapes are anything but demo recordings. They are the building blocks for live performances, extended arranged samples. While a hip-hop artist today might loop 10 seconds of a riff, these pieces are lengthier riffs, the longest being "Discipline Of The Pharaohs," at 9:50 and the shortest, "Moon Over Saturn," 1:56. In those short 2 minutes, Doug William's trumpet plies out a delicate trumpet solo over Ra's organ accompaniment.

Sun Ra's constant rehearsals were more than just practice. The music here is meditative, soul nurturing medicine. Just about every musician from the Arkestra, even the renowned saxophonists John Gilmore and Marshall Allen, doubles on percussion. There are pieces, like "Principles Of The Pharaohs," which are dominated by percussive rhythm with just a hint of flute (is that Marshall Allen or Danny Davis?) in which we hear Ra giving spoken direction. We hear the classic pieces "The Second Stop Is Jupiter" and "Spontaneous Simplicity," both reworked, as they would be constantly throughout Ra's career. Interestingly, much of the music heard here was never performed on stage. The great man loved to tinker with new ideas, trying out themes and testing them out. Rumor has it, there are hundreds of unpublished pieces stuffed in drawers and boxed up at his Germantown address.

The LPs boast a good sound. We heard Sun Ra on Farfisa organ and Hohner clavinet. With his and the Astro-Ihnfinity Arkestra's solos abbreviated, the listening experience compresses seventeen different pieces into a one and a half hours of meditative listening.

Track Listing: The Others From Another World; Spontaneous Simplicity; Dance Of The Distant Star; The State Of Things To Come; The Second Stop Is Jupiter; Horoscope Prelude”; Discipline Of The Pharaohs; Latent Friends; Moon Over Saturn; Principles Of The Pharaohs; Saturn Moon; The Last Unknown; In, Over & Under; Calling Out To Saturn; From Here To There; The Exotic Forest; Do The Intergalactic Thing.

Personnel: Sun Ra: Farfisa organ, Hohner clavinet, direction; Doug Williams aka Akh Tal Ebah: trumpet, space dimension mellophone, percussion; Charles Stephens: trombone, percussion; John Gilmore: tenor saxophone, percussion; Marshall Allen: alto saxophone, flute, percussion; Danny Davis: alto saxophone, flute, percussion; Danny Ray Thompson: alto saxophone, percussion; Alex Blake: bass (13); James Jackson: percussion; William Brister aka Rashid Salim: congas; Keno Speller: congas; Lex Humphries: trap drums (3,4,6); Carl Malone aka Nimrod Hunt: hand drums;

Title: The Intergalactic Thing | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Roaratorio Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sun Ra Plays Gershwin

Sun Ra Plays Gershwin

Enterplanetary Koncepts
2018

buy
Of Abstract Dreams

Of Abstract Dreams

Strut Records
2018

buy
Sun Embassy

Sun Embassy

Roaratorio Records
2018

buy
Exotica

Exotica

Modern Harmonic
2018

buy
The Intergalactic Thing

The Intergalactic...

Roaratorio Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "When The Birds Leave" CD/LP/Track Review When The Birds Leave
by Don Phipps
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "Romaria" CD/LP/Track Review Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "On The Path" CD/LP/Track Review On The Path
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Elker" CD/LP/Track Review Elker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 13, 2018
Read "Piano Works" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Works
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 7, 2018
Read "Interstellar Adventures" CD/LP/Track Review Interstellar Adventures
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 6, 2018