Sun Ra

Purple Night

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At its best, Sun Ra's orchestra on this CD uses a simple repetitive riff as a basis for lengthy performances that vary dynamics and build up gradually in intensity. At its worst (the 19-minute "Of Invisible Theme"), the ensemble rambles on aimlessly, almost as if were creating a sound effects record. Unfortunately their versions of "Love in Outer Space" and "Stars Fell Oon Alabama" are quite silly with the former featuring a "glee club" vocal while the latter displays Ra's lack of a singing voice. Another minus is the sudden mood change during an otherwise lyrical piano-bass duet on "Journey Towards the Stars" caused by a surprise entrance from Marshall Allen's out-of-tune alto. Cornetist Don Cherry (always muted), James Spaulding on flute and alto, John Gilmore on tenor and trombonist Julian Priester get some solo space but most impressive is John Ore's busy and versatile bass playing and Ra's frequently Monk-ish piano. However the minuses easily outweigh the good points on this disc.

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