Recent listening, current

Saturday, January 19, 2013

08. Sun Ra / Purple Night (1990)

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 title recalls 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.

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