Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt

Sun Ra / Sun Ra Arkestra / Salah Ragab

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Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt Review

by Steve Loewy

This important reissue should be greeted joyfully by Sun Ra aficionados, as it fills a hole in his discography, but it is neither stellar Ra nor great jazz. The beautifully packaged CD collects less than forty minutes of the Archestra performing in Egypt with legendary percussionist Salah Ragab, and adds two selections from The Cairo Jazz Band, a short piece by an Egyptian sextet, and an interesting track from The Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble. The music from the Egyptians offers a fascinating peek at an attempt to integrate jazz improvisation with Arab culture. The CD leaflet documents some of the difficulties in bringing the concerts to fruition. On its own, the music should have relatively limited appeal, but as a novelty item, it should whet some appetites. The sound quality is slightly sub-par.

blue highlight denotes track pick