Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth is another one of the great albums dating to the Chicago period in the mid- to late '50s. Assembled from two recording sessions, Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth is an excellent snapshot of this early period. The first four tunes are all from the earlier session (1956) and feature the Arkestra playing what might strike many listeners as fairly conventional material. The remainder of the tunes are from a 1958 session, and show the band moving away from straight bop and swing towards a more unique sound using much more prominent percussion and an increasing use of dissonance, along with instruments like solar bells and space lute. Most of these tracks were recorded a number of times in the '50s (check Sound of Joy), but arrangements and players vary from take to take. This album is a good example of how the Arkestra sounded just prior to (figuratively) blasting off into outer space.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard