Sun Ra* ‎– The Great Lost Sun Ra Albums (Cymbals & Crystal Spears)

Label:
Evidence (5) ‎– ECD 22217-2
Format:
2 × CD, Album
Country:
Released:
Genre:
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Tracklist Hide Credits

1-1 The World Of The Invisible
Bass Clarinet – Eloe Omoe
6:51
1-2 Thoughts Under A Dark Blue Light
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore
16:31
1-3 The Order Of The Pharaonic Jesters
Keyboards [Rocksichord], Vibraphone [Electronic] – Sun Ra
7:21
1-4 The Mystery Of Two 7:35
1-5 Land Of The Day Star
Alto Saxophone – Danny Davis
3:57
2-1 Crystal Spears
Marimba, Synthesizer [Mini Moog] – Sun Ra
6:01
2-2 The Eternal Sphynx
Alto Saxophone – Danny DavisFlute – Marshall AllenTrumpet, Percussion – Kwame Hadi
4:48
2-3 The Embassy Of The Living God
Alto Saxophone – Danny DavisBaritone Saxophone – Danny Ray ThompsonBass Clarinet – Eloe OmoeSynthesizer [Mini Moog] – Sun RaTrumpet, Percussion – Kwame Hadi
10:20
2-4 Sunrise In The Western Sky
Baritone Saxophone – Danny Ray ThompsonFlute, Percussion – Danny DavisPercussion – Eugene BrennanPiccolo Flute – Marshall AllenVibraphone [Electronic], Keyboards [Rocksichord], Gong – Sun Ra
20:19

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Disc 1 was planned for release as "Cymbals" on Impulse. 1-1, 1-3, 1-5 previously appeared on "Deep Purple" (Saturn). 1-2 and 1-4 are previously unissued. Recorded at Variety Recording Studios, NYC in 1973.

Disc 2 was planned for release as "Crystal Spears" (Impulse). All tracks previously unissued. Recorded at Variety Recording Studios, NYC in 1973.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Printed): 7 30182 22172 5
  • Barcode (Scanned): 730182221725
  • Matrix / Runout (Disc 1): ***1/2DCA1534* ECD-22217 "CYMBALS"
  • Mastering SID Code (Disc 1): L806
  • Matrix / Runout (Disc 2): ***2/2DCA1535* ECD-22217 "CRYSTAL SPEARS"
  • Mastering SID Code (Disc 2): L806

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Babaluma1

Babaluma1

March 18, 2015
Worth getting, even for a beginner to Sun Ra. This is a pair of unreleased albums from 1972, around the time of his great album Space Is The Place. As Sun Ra had high quality control getting one of his albums is less about whether it will be "good" than if that period of his work appeals to you as a listener. These two albums offer a good overview of the various strands of his creativity and would be a reasonable introduction for a new comer as they have a bit of everything covered in what feel like like transitional sessions for Ra and his group.

Cymbals is a smaller group and swings a bit more, the first tune The World Of The Invisible is pretty far out with Ra riffing on organ while some great drums and double bass battle it out. Free but also funky and a bit like Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch. Thoughts Under A Dark Blue Light has that distinctive wonky bluesy shuffle characteristic of Ra, swinging but constantly evolving, almost breaking apart but never loosing the melody. The Order Of The Pharaonic Jesters is dark and moody trio with lovely organ and walking double bass. Feel like classic hard bop, good late night smoking music. The Mystery Of Two has more samplerble double bass, starts slow and funky but builds up with some great drumming and sax. The bass and drums are the stars of this album, keeping things grooving even as Ra tries to push it further out. Land Of The Day Star has a funky sax riff and even some bowing on the bass. The drums constantly circle around and the rhythm section become the focus of the track melodically. While the material is based in hard bop and has similarities to the feel of earlier albums like The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra there is a spaciousness due to the small group that allows plenty of interesting interplay with the rhythm section. The keys and horns are remarkably restrained and the whole LP comes across as a exploration of groove, swing and space. It is aptly named as the dancing cymbals set the tone for the album, more than the first track indicates.

Crystal Spears is has a much bigger band with more horns. The title track opens again with a more avant garde statement with Ra blasting away on an organ, before a tide of white noise brings in some of his trade mark exotica bringing to mind a Moroccan bazaar with twinkling Mbira. The Eternal Sphynx brings in a some lush horns over rolling percussion that reminds me of some of the tracks of the Atlantis LP. A nice breathing space after the first tune. The Embassy Of The Living God starts again with some Stockhausen like dissonance, but the genius of Sun Ra is finding the melody even in the most abstract combination of instruments. A melancholy sax wails over the harsh organ chords before half way the saxs take off into Ornette Coleman territory then Ra comes back in with some organ work that reminds me of some of the more far out work by Aphex Twin! The album comes to an end with the epic 20 minute Sunrise In The Western Sky. This tune has a lot in common with some of Pharoah Sanders albums like Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmun Umyun) or Karma, much less groove led but a similar blend of African refrains and harsh sax blasts. The drums circle the sax and bring in some great cymbal and kettle drum work, the whole track never settling into a set form but hanging in the air like the planet Solaris.

Brilliant music from a genius, it is great someone released it!

WTC Productions
Said_Head

Said_Head

July 24, 2013

One of my favorite releases, this set has a lot going for it. Some of the tracks are a little sparser, while others, especially the longer compositions, offer so much atmosphere and, given the length, really pull you into Sun Ra's world. I love to listen to these two discs back to back anywhere, in the car, doing household chores, at work, or introducing other people to Space Royalty.
The liner notes herein are great, with plenty to talk about. It surprises me that 'Crystal Spears' didn't make a release, but given the reasons for which in the liners makes me wonder at what other Ra gems might be going unheard due to corporate squabbles, the sort of human strife Ra often preaches against.
Anyway, if you're a Ra fan and you're looking into a copy of this, I'll stop making you read this so you can go buy one, because that would be a solid treat for yourself.