Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
370

Sun Ra: The Night Of The Purple Moon

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Sun Ra: The Night Of The Purple Moon One of a rare handful of small group sessions, The Night Of The Purple Moon is one of bandleader Sun Ra's most accessible and enjoyable albums. Similar in scope to side one of Atlantis (Evidence, 1967), Cymbals (Evidence, 1973), New Steps (Horo, 1978) and Other Voices, Other Blues (Horo, 1978); this stripped-down studio session is a unique example of Ra's wide-ranging artistry.

Dominated by the sound of the Rocksichord (or, in Saturnian parlance, Roksichord) Ra plays the newly invented keyboard almost exclusively, adding a pair of mini-Moogs to a few solo pieces. Recorded in 1970 at Variety Recording Studio in New York with three core Arkestra members, the original quartet album is augmented with home recordings from 1964 featuring Ra alone on Wurlitzer electric piano. With the original master tapes damaged, this edition is remastered from pristine vinyl, lending the performances a warm, nostalgic quality.

The funky timbre of the Roksichord engenders the session with an often humorous quality, which Ra embraces with aplomb. The tunes are all short and quirky, blending joyous swing, subtle blues, rollicking funk and raucous abstraction in equal measure.

With electric bassist Stafford James as his primary accomplice, Ra enlists faithful tenor saxophonist John Gilmore to fulfill percussion duties. Gilmore's utilitarian trap set accompaniment is subtle, but effective. Multi-instrumentalist Danny Davis relieves Gilmore on "Impromptu Festival" allowing Gilmore's lyrically muscular tenor to take flight.

Davis alternates between various reeds on half the songs, lending percussive support to the rest. His caterwauling alto sax eruptions on the tumultuous "A Bird's Eye View Of A Man's World" and burbling alto clarinet on "21st Century Romance" are tempered by his mellifluous flute work on the plaintive "The All Of Everything."

The briskly swinging title track and funky "Dance Of The Living Image" are driving ensemble excursions, ripe with Ra's boisterous keyboard antics. A wickedly deconstructed blues motif, "Blue Soul" is just one of a handful of Ra's unaccompanied Roksichord/mini-Moog solo excursions. The bonus cuts feature Ra's overdriven Wurlitzer conjuring hazy Gamelan melodies, with "Wurlitzer and Celeste" invoking an extraterrestrial music box.

A handsome reissue, The Night Of The Purple Moon is a welcome rediscovery and a fitting addition to an endlessly fascinating discography.


Track Listing: Sun-Earth Rock; The All Of Everything; Impromptu Festival; Blue Soul; Narrative; Outside The Time Zone; The Night Of The Purple Moon; A Bird's Eye View Of A Man's World; 21st Century Romance; Dance Of The Living Image; Love In Outer Space; Love In Outer Space (Alternate Take); Wurlitzer and Celeste; Wurlitzer Solo 1; Wurlitzer Solo 2.

Personnel: Sun Ra: Roksichord, mini-Moog (4-6), Wurlitzer electric piano (13-15), Celeste (13); Danny Davis: alto saxophone (1, 8), alto clarinet (9, 11-12), flute (2), bongos (10-12), drums (3); John Gilmore: tenor saxophone (3), drums; Stafford James: electric bass.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
We Travel the Spaceways
Hardly Strictly Jazz
Book Reviews
Read more articles
The Intergalactic Thing
The Intergalactic...
Roaratorio Records
2016
buy
Live in Ulm 1992
Live in Ulm 1992
Leo Records
2015
buy
[no cover]
Outer Spaceways...
Polskie Nagrania Muza
2014
buy
Sun Ra: Jazz in Silhouette
Sun Ra: Jazz in...
Evidence
2013
buy
[no cover]
The Mike Huckaby...
Polskie Nagrania Muza
2011
buy
[no cover]
The Mike Huckaby...
Polskie Nagrania Muza
2011
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Eric Dolphy Eric Dolphy
reeds
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
Carla Bley Carla Bley
piano
Cecil Taylor Cecil Taylor
piano
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Don Cherry Don Cherry
trumpet
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus
Support our sponsor

Sponsor: Motéma Music | BUY IT  

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.