Purple Night is a late period recording of an impressive 22-piece Arkestra, and it's a gem. Its superior audio quality bears
mentioning in comparison to the wealth of Sun Ra material
that is well
performed, but poorly rendered on disc. Astute listeners will note the titlerecalls Night of the Purple Moon,
and likewise, four of its tracks ("Journey Toward the Stars," "Love in Outer
Space," "Stars Fell on Alabama," and "Purple Night Blues") are done in a
relatively conventional, small group setting that stylistically
approaches the mainstream. But Purple Night is far more adventurous. Don Cherry, John Ore and Julian Priester are on hand and help frame Ra within the greater context of his work in the jazz idiom. The closing track on side two features him alone with Ore and walking the blues, a working proof of Ra's role as musician, visionary, and, perhaps to some, enigma.