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Horizon (Live)

Sun Ra

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Album Review

This rare platter contains material documented during Sun Ra and his Arkestra's first Egyptian visit, and as such is exceedingly important in Ra's voluminous canon, as much of his personal and historical mythology is centered there. The selections on Horizon (1974) were recorded at the Ballon Theater in Cairo on December 17, 1971, and was sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. While even more of the tour exists in private tape collections, this is one of the only discs to have been issued — though in very limited numbers — making it a real treat for free jazz aficionados. The opening, " Starwatchers/Theme of the Stargazers" medley begins with a choral chant and solo from John Gilmore (tenor sax/percussion) before the entire Arkestra dive headlong into a languid free jazz jam that evolves slowly into an intense flute and alto sax run with Danny Davis (flute), Hakim Rahim (flute), and Larry Northington (alto sax). Ra's mini-Moog is atonal and schizophrenic as his sharp staccato inflections pierce the soundscape overtop of the Arkestra. The recording is far from perfect, as the musicians move in and out of microphone range, however, there is suitable fidelity when discerning the band as they ebb and swell around Ra's ferocious performance. Both "Discipline 2" as well as "Discipline 8" are variations of the Arkestra standard, and each is unequivocally unique. Albeit brief, another highlight is the "Space Is the Place" chant and free jazz processional, allowing the combo to interact at their most melodic — on this disc, anyway. Students and enthusiasts of avant-garde jazz — especially of Sun Ra — should actively seek copies of this LP for a thoroughly enjoyable sonic excursion that rises to the auspicious occasion.

Biography

Born: 22 May 1914 in Birmingham, AL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Of all the jazz musicians, Sun Ra was probably the most controversial. He did not make it easy for people to take him seriously, for he surrounded his adventurous music with costumes and mythology that both looked backward toward ancient Egypt and forward into science fiction. In addition, Ra documented his music in very erratic fashion on his Saturn label, generally not listing recording dates and giving inaccurate personnel information, so one could not really tell how advanced some of his innovations...
Full Bio

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