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Album Review

Space Is the Place provides an excellent introduction to Sun Ra's vast and free-form jazz catalog. Typical of many Sun Ra recordings, the program is varied; earthbound songs, like the swing number "Images" and Egyptian exotica piece "Discipline," fit right in with more space-age cuts, like the tumultuous "Sea of Sounds" and the humorous "Rocket Number Nine." Sun Ra fuses many of these styles on the sprawling title cut, as interlocking harmonies, African percussion, manic synthesizer lines, and joyous ensemble blowing all jell into some sort of church revival of the cosmos. Throughout the recording, Sun Ra displays his typically wide-ranging talents on space organ and piano, reed players John Gilmore and Marshall Allen contribute incisive and intense solos, and June Tyson masterfully leads the Space Ethnic Voices on dreamy vocal flights. This is a fine recording and a must for Sun Ra fans.

Customer Reviews

Avant Gorgeous

It should be said that this record isn't for every listener. Similar in concept to records like Ornette Coleman's "Art of Improvisators", Sun Ra's work pushes the limits of free jazz. But records like this paved the way for others to push the limits of what is experimental music. The Mars Volta, Bastard Noise, Can and other groups would have had a hard time being taken seriously and making great music without "Space is the Place," which combines free jazz with a feeling of the day's cold war, sci -fi asthetic.

Mr. E is a Genius

freedom from freedom! beyond the beyond! mythocracy!

The legend.. The myth..

We can all look back on this and marvel at the funky weirdness and "genius".. But in reality, this album is weak.. Go back to his early recordings and see what I mean.. This is the album non-jazz musicians will pick up because of the freaky album cover and sci-fi trappings, bordering on a circus.. But this is only the surface..


Born: May 22, 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 a 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...
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