Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra - 1965 - The Magic City

"It is notable especially for the title track. While it begins with use of tape echo recalling the experiments on Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow, the key features quickly emerge: Ra's simultaneous piano and clavioline intertwining with Boykins' bass as the underpinning for new long-forms of group music-making which draw on varying sub-ensembles from the Arkestra through the course of the piece.

"The Magic City is an early indication and prime example of the direction in which the music of the Sun Ra Arkestra would move, leading almost immediately to The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra later in the same year." ~ Wikipedia

By the mid-1960s, bandleader and composer Sun Ra was delving deeply into extended, improvisation-heavy suites like The Magic City. Reckoned to be a tribute to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, this long, circuitous piece comes in two different takes on the CD reissue, and both takes are rambunctiously keeled on Ra's core band members, tenor saxophonist John Gilmore and alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who each offer scouring, ear-pinning interludes. Even so, the music here is huge, with sprawling collective improvisatons that burst with wholehearted high energy, suggesting a latent power that Sun Ra often channeled through both his own intricate scores and reams of cover tunes elsewhere in his several decades as jazz's chief outer-space renegade. --Andrew Bartlett." ~ Avax Sphere


01. "The Magic City" – 27:22
02. "The Shadow World" – 10:55
03. "Abstract Eye" – 2:51
04. "Abstract "I"" – 4:08