Sun Ra

Bad and Beautiful

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Bad and Beautiful is probably the first recording made after the Arkestra settled in New York in 1961. Not everyone in the Chicago band wanted to make the move, and since they hadn't been in New York long enough to recruit new musicians, Bad and Beautiful features an Arkestra that's been stripped down to a sextet of Ra, Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Pat Patrick (who had already moved to NY), Ronnie Boykins, and Tommy "Bugs" Hunter. Aside from "Exotic Two," the tunes are split between standards (apparently the last ones the group would record until the '70s) 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. [This album can also be found paired with We Travel the Space Ways on Evidence.]

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