We Travel the Space Ways

Sun Ra

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We Travel the Space Ways Review

by Sean Westergaard

We Travel the Spaceways was recorded at a handful of sessions in Chicago from 1956-1959, possibly 1960. Although several of the tunes also appear on other '50s era recordings, as usual, personnel and arrangements differ from album to album. Many of the tunes are quite bluesy, with tympani, bells, and percussion adding an exotic flair, but the big event here is the appearance of the "space chant," which would become an Arkestra calling card for decades to come. The band was starting to shed its bop tendencies in favor of a more personalized sound, but aside from the novelty aspect of the space chants, nothing on this album gets too far out. The three sessions represented here demonstrate the rapid evolution of the Chicago Arkestra from an interesting bop-influenced ensemble to the singular antics of the world's first space age jazz outfit. [This album can also be found paired with Bad and Beautiful on the Evidence label.]

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