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SoundGround >> Any Sun Ra fans here?


2/16/12 5:14 PM
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hugomma
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Any Sun Ra fans here? Although I remember hearing about him when I was kid, I just really started listening to him. What a weird, interesting dude. He claimed to he was teleported to Saturn years before UFO abduction stories were brought to the public's attention. He was a philosopher, he dressed like P-Funk years before they ever did it, & his music was innovative as hell. Apparently this my be one of the 1st electric keyboard recordings in jazz, & it sounds like something Tom Waits would've done in the 90's.
2/16/12 5:17 PM
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hugomma
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 Here's his version of  "Take the A Train".
2/16/12 5:19 PM
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hugomma
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This one has a nice, mellow funky groove. 
2/16/12 9:48 PM
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Ali
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Dude has like 500 records.... I have like 4 or 5 of them. So I can't claim "fan" status. Bit I love him sometimes. And he has musicians like John Gilmore playing for him and saying he's a genius. So i believe it! I saw Sun Ra in NYC 30 some years ago. Bought a white label vinyl record in a white sleeve. I'm given to believe it was called Disco3000. I remember thinking about 1/3 of it was great....
2/16/12 10:51 PM
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Ali
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Ok, previous post was from my phone, so I didn't actually hear those links. Nice choices, Hugo!! I'm pretty sure I have "Super Sonic Jazz" on a shelf somewhere... totally dug that tune and didn't remember it all.
2/16/12 11:43 PM
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Hillbilly
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I have to be in the right mood to listen to him, but he was an interesting character.
2/17/12 7:54 AM
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DasBeaver
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I got off to a rocky start with Sun Ra. I kept hearing about him and how 'out there' his music was, but like Ali says he has hundreds of albums and ended up blindly choosing 'Strange Celestial Roads' and was unimpressed.

I dig his stuff, especially his spoken word material.

2/17/12 8:03 AM
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DasBeaver
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It also sounds pretty cool when you play all the clips on this page at the same time.
2/17/12 10:03 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - Dude has like 500 records.... I have like 4 or 5 of them. So I can't claim "fan" status. Bit I love him sometimes. And he has musicians like John Gilmore playing for him and saying he's a genius. So i believe it! I saw Sun Ra in NYC 30 some years ago. Bought a white label vinyl record in a white sleeve. I'm given to believe it was called Disco3000. I remember thinking about 1/3 of it was great....



I just got a hold of a ton of his MP3's, & Disco3K is one of them. I haven't heard that one yet, though. So far, I've started with "Lanquidity" (love it, late period, more of a funk/soul vibe with his odd touch) & "Atlantis", which has a bunch of weird, skronky, electric keyboards & percussion. This one, "Mu", is kind of cute. It reminds of something Frisell might've done if he played keys. Most of that album's along those lines.

The title track, "Atlantis", is a crazy, noisy free jazz extravaganza that you have to be in the mood for. Not for the faint of heart.
2/17/12 10:07 AM
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hugomma
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DasBeaver - It also sounds pretty cool when you play all the clips on this page at the same time.

Yeah DasBeaver, he has so many different types of jazz, it's easy to find stuff to like & dislike.  Haven't checked out much of his spoken word/vocal stuff yet, but I'm getting there.  Like it or not, he's definatly intersting & worth exploing.
2/17/12 10:16 AM
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hugomma
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DasBeaver - I got off to a rocky start with Sun Ra. I kept hearing about him and how 'out there' his music was, but like Ali says he has hundreds of albums and ended up blindly choosing 'Strange Celestial Roads' and was unimpressed.

I dig his stuff, especially his spoken word material.




That was cool as shit. "It's a mutherfucker. Don't you know...if they push that button, yo ass gotta go." I think I might have this one, I gotta check. Nuclear war never sounded so much fun. I loved how he came back in with that chord at 7:17.

"You can kiss yo ass goodbye, goodbye".
2/17/12 10:26 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - Ok, previous post was from my phone, so I didn't actually hear those links. Nice choices, Hugo!! I'm pretty sure I have "Super Sonic Jazz" on a shelf somewhere... totally dug that tune and didn't remember it all.

I'll send you an email later today.  I'm really diggin' this stuff.  I think the Frisell you turned me on to preped me for Sun Ra.  "Super-Sonic Jazz" is one of the ones I don't have, which was a bummer, cause I dug that tune as well.  Some of the MP3's I got a hold of were digialized version of the original albums where you can actually hear the needle spinning on the record.

Here's another one of "Super-Sonic Jazz" that's pretty cool. 
2/17/12 10:30 AM
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hugomma
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 DasBeaver, this one's pretty out.  What do you think?
2/17/12 10:34 AM
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Ali
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Don't get confused... that vid is clearly "Sound of Joy". Which, if I'm not mistaken, is his very first record. "Delmark" is not what you usually expect to see as a Sun Ra label. (He was later on A&M, too.... 'Purple Night' maybe? Another relatively -- for him -- conventional big band record, that was also very good).

I think the people who like somewhat more conventional big band charts always list "Silhouette in Jazz" as a favorite. I like it, too; but in-between "strange" ones like "Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy" "We Travel the Spaceways" and (yes) "Atlantis" are what I listened to a bit more. Still, need to go back. I'm liking all these samples you guys are choosing. Nice to have others pick "best ofs" for me!

2/17/12 10:34 AM
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hugomma
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 This one's cute.  I agree with Ali & John Gilmore: Sun Ra was a genius.
2/17/12 10:42 AM
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Ali
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That "Pink Elephants" is killing, IMO. Really special. It's from a super uneven compilation, a Hal Willner project of lots of folks doing Disney tunes. Frisell's on there, though not particularly a standout).

For me, the Sun Ra is probably the best. But also love Los Lobos' "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" and Tom Waits' "Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho". And if you're feeling sentimental, Bonnie Raitt does a "Baby Mine" (from Dumbo) that might make you cry.

It was also what led me to discover Ken Nordine, for that spoken-word-jazz thing.

All that's getting away from Sun Ra, though. So once again... Hell yeah to Pink Elephants!
2/17/12 10:50 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - Don't get confused... that vid is clearly "Sound of Joy". Which, if I'm not mistaken, is his very first record. "Delmark" is not what you usually expect to see as a Sun Ra label. (He was later on A&M, too.... 'Purple Night' maybe? Another relatively -- for him -- conventional big band record, that was also very good).

I think the people who like somewhat more conventional big band charts always list "Silhouette in Jazz" as a favorite. I like it, too; but in-between "strange" ones like "Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy" and "Atlantis" are what I listened to a bit more. Still, need to go back. I'm liking all these samples you guys are choosing. Nice to have others pick "best ofs" for me!

Edit - Ha! You post from "Atlantis" as I was still typing. Must be some Saturn influence....

Check out the YouTube comments.  It says that  version of "EL is the Sound of Joy" was from "Super-Sonic Jazz".  Some of the posters asked the guy about it, & he verified it was off of "Super-Sonic Jazz" & he uploaded the wrong album cover .

According to Wiki, Ra's Chicago phase in the 50's was his swing/big band phase, his NY phase in the 60's was where he went "out", & his Philly phase from 70's till his death was when he settled into more "conventional" sounds - whatever that means.  So far, I've liked what I've heard from every phase.

Speaking of Saturn...
2/17/12 10:52 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - That "Pink Elephants" is killing, IMO. Really special. It's from a super uneven compilation, a Hal Willner project of lots of folks doing Disney tunes. Frisell's on there, though not particularly a standout).

For me, the Sun Ra is probably the best. But also love Los Lobos' "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" and Tom Waits' "Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho". And if you're feeling sentimental, Bonnie Raitt does a "Baby Mine" (from Dumbo) that might make you cry.

It was also what led me to discover Ken Nordine, for that spoken-word-jazz thing.

All that's getting away from Sun Ra, though. So once again... Hell yeah to Pink Elephants!
Well I already love Tom Waits, am falling in love with Sun Ra, & dig Los Lobos & Bonnie Raitt.

And you know I'm always up for new shit.  No thread is sacred.  Who's this Ken Nordine spoken word jazz guy you speak of?
  
2/17/12 11:01 AM
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Ali
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My bad on Sound of Joy, then. I didn't listen, just saw the cover. So don't confuse ME, dammit!

The Disney tunes compilation is called "Stay Awake".

Sun Ra record "Mayan Temples" is really good -- a bunch of straight piano on there, IIRC, too. But has some killing John Gilmore.

Gilmore solo on a tune called "Nothing Is" is killer, too. I think that was originally on "Cosmic Tones..."

Ken Nordine was a radio guy from the 50s, did voice over work on TV commercials, that sort of thing. But he had a handful of recordings of what he called "Word Jazz". Actually that's the title of the first one. Kind of time-bound, I guess, but also cool early spoken word stuff with a jazz band backing. Sounds like a smoove tv announcer but ... that gives some tension against some pretty twisted content sometimes.

EDIT - OK -- from the greatest music TV show, ever...:



And from his first album:



There's A LOT on youtube, it turns out. Brand new to me is this one, which convinces me that Laurie Anderson was listening a lot:

2/17/12 11:16 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - My bad on Sound of Joy, then. I didn't listen, just saw the cover. So don't confuse ME, dammit!

The Disney tunes compilation is called "Stay Awake".

Sun Ra record "Mayan Temples" is really good -- a bunch of straight piano on there, IIRC, too. But has some killing John Gilmore.

Gilmore solo on a tune called "Nothing Is" is killer, too. I think that was originally on "Cosmic Tones..."

Ken Nordine was a radio guy from the 50s, did voice over work on TV commercials, that sort of thing. But he had a handful of recordings of what he called "Word Jazz". Actually that's the title of the first one. Kind of time-bound, I guess, but also cool early spoken word stuff with a jazz band backing. Sounds like a smoove tv announcer but ... that gives some tension against some pretty twisted content sometimes.
What fun is it if I can't confuse you once in a while, Ali :-)

It's funny, cause what led me to check out Sun Ra was being bored at work, reading Coltrane's Wiki page, & reading about how he was influenced by John Gilmore.  So from there I went to YouTube, found "India", went nuts, & got a shit ton of Ra MP3's.

From what I've heard so far, Gilmore is a BADASS mutherfucker.  Just a hell of a player.  

I'll have to check out more spoken word jazz.  I know of Mingus's "The Clown", but not much else.

Alright my fren, I'll be back later.  I got an email to send you.  See you soon, & thanks for being here. 

 
2/17/12 11:18 AM
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hugomma
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 Oh shit - you posted a bunch of Nordine.  Thanks dood, much appreciated.  More to look foward to...
2/17/12 11:26 AM
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Ali
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I actually have the DVD this is from... very strange mix of fascinating and boring (as a whole, that is). But this... I like listening to what Gilmore has to say, and I sort of have to take it on faith! But what HE's doing on the version of 'Round Midnight that this ends with... well...

2/17/12 12:57 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - I actually have the DVD this is from... very strange mix of fascinating and boring (as a whole, that is). But this... I like listening to what Gilmore has to say, and I sort of have to take it on faith! But what HE's doing on the version of 'Round Midnight that this ends with... well...




What DVD was that from? From 3:20 on was wild. And that trumpet on 3:44...

I don't know know if I'd put Sun Ra above Monk or Mingus, but he was definitely unique. I'm digging him like I did Frisell & Motion.

Here's a sweet version of "Round Midnight", with June Tyson on vocals. Check out the piano solo that starts around 2:27.
2/17/12 1:02 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 02/17/12 1:04 PM
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One more version of Sun Ra doing "Round Midnight", no vocals & paino, live in 1980.  Gilmore wails all over this one, too.  Jesus, check out 5:33 - 6:28.  No wonder Trane though so highly of Gilmore.  Another sweet solo by Sun himself as well. 
2/17/12 2:17 PM
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DasBeaver
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Don't know if you'd be interested in this, but the unofficial archivist of Sun Ra and author of 'THIS PLANET IS DOOMED: The Science Fiction Poetry of Sun Ra' Michael Anderson gave a really cool interview and played a bunch of unreleased stuff here:

It's about 1/2 way down the playlist:

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/41045

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