|The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra|
| Studio album by |
Sun Ra and his Arkestra
|Recorded||October 10, 1961 Newark, New Jersey|
|Sun Ra and his Arkestra chronology|
|The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide|
The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra is an album by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Arkestra, recorded October 10, 1961 for the Savoy label and released in 1962.
The album was supervised by Tom Wilson, who would later produce albums by the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan.
The first record to be recorded by a pared-down Arkestra after Sun Ra and the core of his group left Chicago and relocated to New York City. According to Sun Ra's biographer John Szwed:
'The idea was just to play a few gigs, maybe some studio work, and then go back to Chicago and work at the Pershing [club] again. But as soon as they crossed the George Washington Bridge they collided with a taxi and bent one of the wheels of [bassist] Ronnie Boykins's father's car. With no money to have it fixed they were stranded again. [Sun Ra] went to a phone booth and called Ed Bland and Tom Wilson to tell them they were in town, and the band moved into a couple of hotel rooms over the Peppermint Lounge on 45th Street. But after a few days of waiting, Strickland and Mitchell got anxious, called home for money, and left. The five who remained then moved to a room on 81st Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, and after a few days found a cheaper place farther downtown in the seventies.
'Though the band had no luck finding places to play, Tom Wilson came up with a recording session for them with Savoy Records. On October 10 they crossed the river to the Medallion Studio in Newark with a few musicians they added for the date... and they produced a record which could have easily represented their repertoire during an evening at a club there..... Despite a heavy title and a cover painting of a conga drum swirling like a tornado through a valley of piano keys against an orange sky, the record was plagued from the start. Tom Wilson's liner notes were filled with inaccuracies: Distribution was almost as poor as it was with the Saturn records, and there was no reviews for twenty-three years, when it was reissued in 1984 as We Are In The Future.'
The album is often considered one of the most accessible records in Ra's vast catalogue;
'Sun Ra's only release for the Savoy label is a gem... Ra sticks to acoustic piano for the entire session, but various percussion instruments are dispersed throughout the band, giving a slightly exotic flavor to some of the tunes... With the exception of "The Beginning," all the tunes are very accessible. This is one to play for the mistaken folks who think the Arkestra did nothing but make noise. Excellent.' Sean Westergaard, Allmusic
The sleeve was designed by 'Harvey', a secretive graphic designer who made over 190 album covers for Savoy and its subsidiaries throughout the 1960s;
"Rev. Lawrence Roberts, long-time producer for Savoy Records... said that they never knew the identity of Harvey. Harvey lived in New York, and was very secretive. They would send him a title or concept and he would produce the painting. The paintings were not expensive, and they paid him in cash."
The record was reissued in 1984 as We Are In The Future, but regained its original name when it was issued on Compact Disc in 1994. Savoy reissued it again in 2003.
All songs written by Sun Ra except 'China Gate'.
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One is a 1965 album by the jazz musician Sun Ra. The back cover describes it as an "album of compositions and arrangements by Sun Ra played by Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra".
The Magic City is an album by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra. Recorded in two sessions in 1965, the record was released on Ra's own Saturn label in 1966. The record was reissued by Impulse! in 1973, and on compact disc by Evidence in 1993. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings includes the album in its suggested “Core Collection” of essential recordings.
Angels and Demons at Play is a jazz album by Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra.
Sound of Joy is an album by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. It features the Arkestral lineup during the last few months of 1956, after trombonist Julian Priester left to join Lionel Hampton, Charles Davis became a regular member of the band, and Victor Sproles took over on bass. It was intended as the follow-up to Jazz By Sun Ra but Transition Records ceased to operate before it could be released.
Jazz By Sun Ra is the debut album by Sun Ra. The record label for the first pressing says "07-12-56", presumably when it was recorded. The LP originally appeared on Tom Wilson's short-lived Transition Records. In the mid-1960s it was purchased by Delmark Records owner Bob Koester, finally being reissued in 1967.
Jazz in Silhouette is a jazz album by pianist-composer Sun Ra and His Arkestra. It was recorded on March 6, 1959 and released in May of the same year. The album was recorded in Chicago during a session that also included the whole of the albums Sound Sun Pleasure!! and "Interstellar Low Ways" from the album of the same name.
Super-Sonic Jazz is an album by Sun Ra, recorded in 1956 at RCA Studios, Chicago. Super-Sonic Jazz was the first album to be released on Saturn Records, the label run by Sun Ra and Alton Abraham, and was one of only three albums by Sun Ra to have been available in the 1950s.
Featuring Pharoah Sanders and Black Harold is a jazz album by Sun Ra, recorded live on December 31, 1964, but not released until 1976, on Ra and Alton Abraham's El Saturn label. An expanded version of the album was reissued in 2009 by ESP-Disk, and again in 2017 by Superior Viaduct. A complete version of Sun Ra's performances on December 30 and 31, 1964 were released in 2012 on the Pharoah Sanders album In The Beginning 1963-1964.
Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra Visits Planet Earth is a jazz album by the American musician Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra. Recorded between late 1956 and 1958, the album was originally released on Ra's own Saturn label in 1966, and has since been reissued on CD by Evidence in 1992. In keeping with many Saturn releases, one side features cuts from the arkestra c.1958, whilst the other side comes from the 1956 sessions originally intended for Sound of Joy but still unreleased in 1966.
Interstellar Low Ways is an album recorded by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra, mostly recorded in Chicago, 1960, and probably released in 1966 on his own Saturn label. Originally titled Rocket Number Nine, the album had acquired its present name, and the red-on-white sleeve by Claude Dangerfield, by 1969. The album is known particularly for the two songs featuring space chants - Interplanetary Music and Rocket Number Nine Take off for the Planet Venus - that would stay in the Arkestra's repertoire for many years;
'Rocket Number Nine points toward the music that the Arkestra would be playing on the lower East Side of New York City. The tenor sax solo isn't the work of John Coltrane in 1962, but of John Gilmore in 1960. And not even Ornette Coleman's bassists were playing like Ronnie Boykins at this date.' Robert Campbell
Fate in a Pleasant Mood is an album by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra recorded in Chicago, mid 1960 and originally released on his own Saturn label in 1965. The album was reissued by Impulse! in 1974, and by Evidence in 1993. For the latter reissue, the record was included as the first half of a CD that also featured the whole of When Sun Comes Out, an album recorded by the Arkestra in New York, 1963.
Bad and Beautiful is an album by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Recorded in 1961 in New York City at the Choreographers' Workshop, 414 W. 51st St., the album was the second to be recorded in New York by the Arkestra after leaving Chicago, but would remain unreleased until 1972. The album is considered to represent an important transition between the big band approach of the Chicago recordings, and the more 'outside' approach of Ra's smaller bands recorded later in the decade:
'Aside from "Exotic Two," the tunes are split between standards and blues originals, but there are indications of the direction the Arkestra would take throughout the '60s. "Search Light Blues" has some interesting percussion accents finding their way into the arrangement, and "Exotic Two" alludes more clearly to the percussion-heavy sound that dominated many of the '60s recordings. Sun Ra plays piano exclusively on this recording, and Gilmore gets lots of room to shine. A significant transitional LP, this is probably the last "inside" record the Arkestra would record as they forged new sonic paths into the mid-'60s.' Sean Westergaard, All Music Guide link
Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow is an album by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra. Often considered the first of Ra's 'outside' recordings, the album was the first to make extensive use of a discovery by the Arkestra's drummer and engineer Tommy Hunter:
'Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow.... contained "Cluster of Galaxies" and "Solar Drums", two rhythm section exercises with the sound treated with such strange reverberations that they threatened to obliterate the instruments' identity and turn the music into low-budget musique concrète. While testing the tape recorder when the musicians were tuning up one day, Hunter had discovered that if he recorded with the earphones on, he could run a cable from the output jack back into the input on the recorder and produce massive reverberation:
"I wasn't sure what Sun Ra would think of it... I thought he might be mad - but he loved it. It blew his mind! By working the volume of the output on the playback I could control the effect, make it fast or slow, drop it out, or whatever." [Tommy Hunter]
'By the 1950s commercial recording companies had developed a classical style of recording which assured that the recording process itself would be invisible... but Sun Ra began to regularly violate this convention on the Saturn releases by recording live at strange sites, by using feedback, distortion, high delay or reverb, unusual microphone placement, abrupt fades or edits, and any number of other effects or noises which called attention to the recording process. On some recordings you could hear a phone ringing, or someone walking near the microphone. It was a rough style of production, an antistyle, a self-reflexive approach which anticipates both free jazz recording conventions and punk production to come.' John F Szwed
Secrets of the Sun is an album by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra. The album is considered one of the more accessible recordings from his 'Solar' period. Originally released on Ra's own Saturn label in 1965, the record was unavailable for many years before being reissued on compact disc by Atavistic in 2008.
'Marking a transition in its development between the advanced swing of the early Chicago-era recordings and the increased free-form experimentation of its New York tenure, this album also reveals the first recorded versions of two Ra standards, "Friendly Galaxy" and "Love in Outer Space." Accessible, yet segueing into vanguard territory, this album highlights a fertile period in the Arkestra's history. Looser and more aggressive than its Chicago recordings, these pieces find the Arkestra pushing at the limits of harmony and tonality.' Troy Collins
When Angels Speak of Love is a music album by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra. Originally released in 1966 on Sun Ra's own Saturn label, the record would have only been available by mail order or sold at Arkestra concerts, and is one of the rarest of all Saturn releases. The record was reissued on compact disc by Evidence in 2000.
Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy is an album by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra. Recorded in 1963, but not released until 1967 on Sun Ra's own Saturn label, the record has become one of the most discussed of Ra's New York recordings. The record was reissued on compact disc by Evidence in 2000.
'Cosmic Tones functions as a kind of blueprint for the sort of large-scale jazz weirdness that would inform much of Sun-Ra's subsequent works, featuring the woozy reeds of And Otherness and the afro-jazz experiments of Thither And Yon. On Adventure Equation a space echo treatment on the recording which is reprised for the sax flurries on Voice Of Space making the whole experience even more disorientating than it already would be.'
Other Planes of There is an album by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra. Recorded in 1964, the album had been released by 1966 on Sun Ra's own Saturn label. The record was reissued on compact disc by Evidence in 1992.
'Granted, the selection is certainly not as abrasive and demanding as later efforts, although there is strident involvement from everyone within the dense arrangement. The brass and reed sections provide emphasis behind an off-kilter and loping waltz backdrop. All the more impressive is how well the material has held up over the decades. Even to seasoned ears, the music is pungent and uninhibited, making Other Planes of There a highly recommended collection.' Lindsay Planer
Holiday For Soul Dance is an album by the American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Arkestra recorded in Chicago, mid-1960 and originally released on his own Saturn label in 1970. The album was reissued by Evidence on Compact disc in 1992. Within Ra's catalogue, Holiday For Soul Dance is considered a bit of an oddity as it lacks any tracks written by Sun Ra, although a song written by Phil Cohran, the Arkestra's cornet player, is included. The record is one of a trio of albums recorded between 1959 and 1961, featuring jazz standards, that Ra released in the early 1970s. The others were Sound Sun Pleasure!! and Bad and Beautiful.
Strange Strings is an album by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra. Recorded in 1966, the album was released by 1967 on Sun Ra's own Saturn label. The record was reissued on compact disc by Atavistic in 2007.
Strange Strings is a somewhat legendary album from the mid-'60s. "Worlds Approaching" is a great tune, anchored by a bass ostinato and timpani and featuring several fantastic solos... Off and on throughout the tune, Bugs Hunter applies near-lethal doses of reverb, giving the piece a very odd but interesting sound. "Strange Strings" is one of those songs that is likely to inspire some sort of "you call that music?" comment from your grandmother, or even from open-minded friends. It sounds like they raided the local pawnshop for anything with strings on it, then passed them out to the bandmembers. It's difficult to tell if some of these instruments have been prepared in some way, or if they're simply being played by untutored hands. There are also lots of drums and some viola playing from Ronnie Boykins that is also treated heavily with reverb. Despite the cacophony, there is a definite ebb and flow to the piece and what seem like different movements or themes. Whatever you think of the music contained, there's no denying that it produced some of the most remarkable sounds of the mid-'60s. If you don't like "out," stay clear of this one.' Sean Westergaard
Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue is an album by jazz composer, bandleader and keyboardist Sun Ra and his Arkestra recorded in 1977, originally released on Ra's Saturn label in 1977, and rereleased on CD on Atavistic's Unheard Music Series in 2008.