SUN RA — Live at Montreux

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SUN RA - Live at Montreux cover
5.00 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Live album · 1976

Filed under Avant-Garde Jazz
By SUN RA

Tracklist

A1 For the Sunrise 2:00
A2 Of the Other Tomorrow 7:43
A3 From Out Where Others Dwell/On Sound Infinity Spheres 13:25
B1 House of Eternal Being 9:36
B2 Gods of the Thunder Realm 7:28
B3 Lights on a Satellite 4:38
C1 Piano Intro 3:50
C2 Take the A Train 7:50
D1 Prelude (Saturn Calls the Cascade) 3:12
D2 El Is a Sound of Joy 8:56
D3 Encore 1 1:44
D4 Encore 2 2:28
D5 We Travel the Spaceways 4:11

Line-up/Musicians

- Sun Ra / piano, solar organ, Moog
- John Gilmore / tenor sax
- Marshall Allen / alto sax, flute
- Danny Davis / alto sax, flute
- Pat Patrick / baritone sax, flute
- James Jackson / Ancient Egyptian Infinity Drum, bassoon
- Elo Omo / bass clarinet
- Danny Thompson / baritone sax, flute
- Reggie Hudgins / soprano sax
- Ahmed Abdullah / trumpet
- Chris Capers / trumpet
- Al Evans / trumpet
- Vincent Chancey / French horn
- Craig Harris / trombone
- Stanley Morgan / congas
- Clifford Jarvis / drums
- Larry Bright / drums
- Hayes Burnette / bass
- Tony Bunn / electric bass
- June Tyson/ vocals, dancer
- Judith Holten / dancer
- Cheryl Banks / dancer

About this release

Saturn MS 87976

Live at Montreux Festival, Montreux, Switzerland, 7/9/76

Re-released on CD in 2003 by Universe/Akarma and P-Vine

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js, dreadpirateroberts for the updates

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SUN RA LIVE AT MONTREUX reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Live at Montreaux” marks a slight turning point in the career of Sun Ra and his Arkestra. After playing in obscurity for decades and releasing countless albums on small labels, the late 70s found audiences finally warming up to Ra’s bizarre musical vision and opportunities for greater exposure began to come his way. Unlike some of the thrown together (yet brilliant) albums of the past, “Montreaux” comes in a nice gatefold package complete with photos and extensive liner notes. It was also one of his first albums to actually get a little promotion and visibility from local record stores. Playing and recording in front of the massive Montreaux audience was also a far cry from the little community centers Ra was used to playing.

Ra quite wisely reacted to these new opportunities by turning out one of the finest albums of his career. With such a large audience on hand, Ra is on his best behavior and cuts out some of his more indulgent humor and goes for a straight ahead sonic blast of avant-garde jazz, some of the best you will find anywhere. With the whole world watching, Ra also seems to have a point to prove about his own playing too. After a few minutes into the first side Ra takes center stage with a tour-de-force piano solo that shows why he easily ranks with some of the greatest pianists of all time. He also does not hold back with the electronics either. Towards the end of side one he brings on massive sheets of noise with a Moog and an organ run through a ring modulator. There was a time when noise meant liberation in jazz, not the sort of conformity to rock power that it has become, and no one brought the noise like Ra did with blunt harsh sounds never heard in jazz before, even amongst the Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler crowd.

Although The Arkestra is capable of almost any musical style you can name, the avant-garde side of things does dominate this album with lots of over the top “free” solos being passed around to many members of the band. Meanwhile, the band’s exotica side is represented with the quirky “Lights on a Satellite” and the bands ability to transform older jazz styles is heard on a breakneck high speed chaotic version of “Take the A Train”. Overall though, this album does not have much in the way of Ra’s signature big band arrangements, but instead features the players in ever changing smaller combinations that rely more on free improvisation rather than arrangement.

If you only own one Sun Ra record, this one might be the one to get as it offers a fairly wide picture of his career and some of his band’s most sincere and energetic performances. If you are a fan of Ra’s electronic work and piano playing, this album is probably the best showcase for his abilities in those areas too.

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