Sun Ra / Sun Ra Quartet

New Steps

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New Steps is one of several albums done with this basic lineup in January of 1978. This album is billed to the Sun Ra Quartet, but it sounds like there's a bass player present on at least some of the cuts (it could be Ra, but he'd need three hands). There are two standards amongst a program of Ra originals, and things get started with a stellar version of "My Favorite Things." The music quickly takes its only sharp turn toward outer space as Ra introduces listeners to "Moon People," the only track where Ra emphasizes synthesizer over piano. "Sun Steps" is a slow tune featuring some beautiful piano playing from Sun Ra. In fact, the remainder of the album is on the mellow side ("When There Is No Sun" is the only track with vocals), and features some great statements by John Gilmore and Ra. Michael Ray is in fine form as well, if somewhat less exuberant than usual. With such a small group, solo space is ample, and Luqman Ali's understated drumming really holds things together nicely. New Steps is another fabulous release from Sun Ra, but all the Horo albums can be difficult to find.

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