Sun Ra

Sun Ra and His Arkestra at Inter Media Arts, April 1991

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Sun Ra and His Arkestra at Inter Media Arts, April 1991 is a very good live date from late in the bandleader's career. At this point in 1991, Sun Ra had suffered a stroke. He was confined to a wheelchair and didn't sing any longer, but his keyboard skills and ability to lead the band seem undiminished. It's a typically wide-ranging set list with chestnuts from Ellington and Fletcher Henderson mixed in with space chants and other Arkestra fare. The band sounds fantastic, with John Gilmore getting solo spots not only on tenor but some nice clarinet as well and, as usual, Marshall Allen tears up "Prelude to a Kiss." The sound quality is excellent (this was originally a radio broadcast), as is the set list. It's a shame Ra was no longer able to speak and sing at this point, as that was always a special part of any Arkestra show, but this recording proves that he was absolutely driven musically up until the end. This isn't the place to start your Sun Ra collection, but it's a great set that fans are sure to enjoy.

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