Sun Ra

Life Is Splendid

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This lists six tracks on the sleeve (nine if you count the one titled "Discipline 27-11/What Planet Is This?/Life Is Splendid/Immeasurable" as four discrete pieces), but it's actually one continuous 37-minute performance from Ra's "Space Is the Place" suite. Recorded live at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival on September 8, 1972, it is actually incomplete: as producer John Sinclair writes in his liner notes, "The opening sections are not available because a proper mix could not be achieved until several minutes into the performance." It's a decent, energetic slice of the kind of music typical of Ra's performances during this time, moving back and forth from June Tyson's moving, incantational vocals to freer instrumental passages highlighting Ra's organ. Those passages, not unexpectedly, get freer and freer until they teeter on the edge of bursting, sometimes putting wailing brass, Ra's careering "space organ," or pummeling percussion at the forefront. The sound is good, better (as is the music) than the 1973 Ra performance at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival that was issued by Total Energy on the Outer Space Employment Agency album.

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