Sun Ra

Concert for the Comet Kohoutek

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Released in the early '90s, Concert for the Comet Kohoutek captures a typically inspired night by Sun Ra & the Intergalactic Space Research Arkestra. Recorded in late 1973, on this date the Arkestra is guided by a musical theme composed around the idea of the Comet Kohoutek, which was passing close to Earth at the time. Typically, the release vaults between cosmic vocal songs that speak of Truth and other such brashly capitalized affairs (such as "Astro Black"), almost straight-ahead big-band jazz arrangements ("Variations of Kohoutek Themes"), and frighteningly evil free explorations ("Journey Through the Outer Darkness"). Much of the Arkestra's appeal lies in its ability to navigate gracefully through these moods. Unfortunately, the balance is too even here, and the band doesn't commit to any of the ideas. There isn't enough free music to let the listener become lost, the few Sun Ra compositions (in the traditional sense) that appear are too undeveloped and sloppy to truly appreciate, and the cosmic platitudes always worked better in their purely instrumental forms. An enjoyable listen, but not an important date.

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