SUN RA — The Solar-Myth Approach Vol. 1 (review)

SUN RA — The Solar-Myth Approach Vol. 1 album cover Album · 1971 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
js
“The Solar Myth Approach Volume 1” may not be Sun Ra’s worst album, but it is far from his best. A combination of mostly lackluster music, bad sound balance and bad recording quality all come together to make an album that only the most ardent Ra fan can enjoy. The most creative track comes at the opening of side one on which a repeating bass note and some low horn tone clusters topped with a few high pitched squeaky horns imitate the sounds of electronic keyboards. The end result is more similar to the music of Stockhausen or Xennakis rather than what one would expect from a ‘jazz’ big band. Unfortunately the rest of side one meanders between percussion workouts and what sounds like someone vocalizing through a horn. The percussion is okay, but the vocalizing gets annoying pretty quickly. Side one closes with a uninspired and poorly recorded version of “The Satellites are Spinning”, there are much better versions of this song out there on other Sun Ra records.

Side two picks things up with some free jazz that would sound better if Sonny’s clavinet wasn’t louder than the horns. This is followed by a solo synthesizer track that shows off Ra’s unique approach to that instrument. Next up is a brief big band arrangement, one of the few on the album. Side two closes out with more percussion, as well as some electronic keyboard interludes. Overall, side two is an improvement over one.
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