Sun Ra / Sun Ra & His Arkestra

Oblique Parallax

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Although this release may prove to be exceedingly difficult to locate, Oblique Parallax (1982) boasts live performances from free jazz keyboardist Sun Ra at the Jazz Center in Detroit, Michigan. The material within includes Ra's solos, as well as a few Arkestra offerings. The album begins with an unaccompanied electric organ on the "Oblique Parallax," which meanders into a slightly more assertive and impassioned composition, "Vista Omniverse." "Celestial Realms" follows, as Vincent Chancey (french horn) joins Ra with some minimalist, but audible contributions from Eric "Samarai" Walker (drums). Chancey weaves unfettered over Ra's cordial yet jarring chord progressions. The second half of the platter consists of the lengthy centerpiece "Journey Stars Beyond." The offering commences in much the same fashion as "Celestial Realms" had ended, with Ra, Chancey, and Walker conjuring up pastoral sonic imagery prior to propelling themselves headlong into an aggressive instrumental assault led by Walker's frenetic and dexterous percussive inflections. The remainder of the Arkestra follow suit with an exceptionally powerful blast of free jazz improvisation as Ra switches to a synthesizer for some of his trademark out-of-this-world runs that simply defy accurate description -- however, enthusiasts will be able to relate to the intensity and ferocity that the Arkestra has become synonymous with. Parties interested in the music of Sun Ra should seek this title -- which will most likely be on vinyl -- for an exemplary set of avant-garde free jazz from one of the masters of the genre.