This one is quirky, even in the Sun Ra catalog. Ra fronts a quartet playing nothing but miniMoog and Rocksichord, along with Stafford James on electric bass, Danny Davis on alto, clarinet, flute, and bongos, and John Gilmore on drums! Gilmore has a skittering approach to the drums, which are curiously mic'ed with the hi-hat being especially prominent. Ra's playing doesn't get too far out, although the tones of the Rocksichord and miniMoog are rather humorous, and most of the tunes are quite playful. Davis provides some fine alto, clarinet, and a number of freak-outs, with James anchoring the proceedings. Davis and Gilmore switch roles for "Impromptu Festival" for a taste of Gilmore's tenor while "Dance of the Living Image" has Gilmore on drums and Davis on bongos. The best point of reference for this album is "The Perfect Man" off the Singles compilation, except "The Perfect Man" uses miniMoog exclusively, and Gilmore is a more solid drummer than Danny Davis. Lots of fun and slightly goofy, Night of the Purple Moon is an entertaining curiosity within a singularly unique discography.
The Night of the Purple Moon Review
by Sean Westergaard