All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

152

Ahmed Abdullah's Dispersions of the Spirit of RA: Traveling the Spaceways

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Even with a few Sun Ra alumni bands traveling the spaceways these days, Ra trumpet player Ahmed Abdullah casts his solar disc into the star stream with his Dispersions of the Spirit of RA group. Utilizing former Sun Ra crew members and veterans of his own units, Abdullah presents a program of both well-known and unknown compositions, keeping the vibe alive and extending our knowledge of the universe. Abdullah initiated the project as a result of a dream vision in which Sun Ra appeared to him and urged him to fire up the ship once again.

Abdullah's aces include violinist and Ra alumnus Billy Bang, who makes crucial contributions solo and in ensemble. Ronald Shannon Jackson alumnus Masujaa makes some of these readings more guitar-dominant with his clean rhythm and ringing leads. The vocal and spoken word performers keep the message up front, and recreate a couple of old favorites. Alex Harding's baritone sax leads the march on "We Travel the Spaceways. Louis Reyes Rivera intones the opening invocation. Bang's beautiful variations snake through a lush arrangement on "21st Century, pt. 1. Abdullah spreads his romantic side on "pt.2," with "pt. 3" finding funk through Ben Judah's bass and Moffett's beat, both simple and playful. Harding takes to space with the calypso riff steady beneath him.

One of the collection's obscurities, "Dancing Shadows, feels like '50s vintage with its lively straight-ahead momentum. Craig Harris pokes around on trombone and Harding strides through with gruff-toned swagger. Washington answers in kind, and Bang peels off a wicked line. Another rediscovery, "East of UZ, opens with another stirring Rivera poem, then settles into the Mingus-esque theme. Bang sweetens the arrangement with ornamentation, and Abdullah plays it rich and tasty.

It's always good to hear "Love in Outer Space, with Masujaa slyly playing off the theme, welcoming Abdullah's muted solo. A bright arrangement of "Enlightenment benefits from Bang playing both pizzicato and behind the bow. The familiar "New Horizons from the classic We Travel the Spaceways gets an added lift from Monique Ngozi Nri's poetry performance. Harris adds a trombone meditation. "They Plan to Leave gives both Masujaa and Bang room to roam.

Ahmed Abdullah acquits himself of Ra's beyond-the-grave injunction with Traveling the Spaceways, producing a valuable addition to Ra-ism and managing to capture the celestial spirit of the Founder.

Track Listing: We travel the Spaceways; 21st Century part 1; 21st Century part 2; 21st Century part 3; Dancing Shadows; Love in Outerspace; Enlightenment; East of Uz; New Horizons; They Plan - dedicated to David Bake

Personnel: Ahmed Abdullah, trumpet, vocals; Billy Bang, violin; Craig Harris, trombone; Salim Washington, tenor sax; Alex Harding, baritone sax; Owuor Arunga, trumpet; Masujaa, guitar; Radu Oluwu Ben Judah, bass Cody Moffett, drums; Monique Ngozi Nri, vocals, poetry; Miles Griffith, vocals; Louis Reyes Rivera, poetry

Title: Traveling the Spaceways | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Planet Arts Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Live

The James Westfall Podcast
2013

buy
Traveling the Spaceways

Traveling the...

Planet Arts Records
2005

buy
Tara

Tara

TUM Records
2005

buy
 

Dedication

CIMP Records
2000

buy
 

NAM - Actual Proof

Buda Musique
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "The Wandering Woods" CD/LP/Track Review The Wandering Woods
by Jim Olin
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 9, 2018
Read "Queen City Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman" CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Promise!" CD/LP/Track Review Promise!
by Don Phipps
Published: April 6, 2018
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2017