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Thursday, Jun 18 2015 | 06:27
Image: 1597861 Essential classic reissues of The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 1 & 2 . Re-pressed for its 50th Anniversary in a limited edition on Esperanto-green, 180-gram vinyl housed within Sun Ra's original, self-created jacket art.

Track Listing:
Side A
1. The Sun Myth 18:21
Side B
1. A House of Beauty 4:55
2. Cosmic Chaos 15:12

Credits: Walter Miller: trumpet: Robert Cummings: bass clarinet, Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute, piccolo, John Gilmore: tenor sax, Pat Patrick: baritone sax, flute, Sun Ra: clavioline, piano, tuned bongos, Ronnie Boykins: bass, Roger Blank: drums
Recorded by Richard L. Alderson at RLA Sound Studios, New York City, November 16, 1965

Overview: More explorations of outer space by the spokesman for the space age.
When Walt Whitman wrote, "I am vast, I contain multitudes," he could have been channeling Sun Ra. The man born Herman Blount in Alabama, who claimed he was from Saturn, was equally at home reviving Fletcher Henderson compositions based on their original arrangements or unleashing totally free-form, athematic group improvisation - and many styles in between. It was practically a given that a New York-based (as he was in the '60s) avant-jazz performer as colorful and eccentric as Sun Ra would end up on ESP-Disk'.

The 1965 sessions that produced the two volumes of Heliocentric Worlds came during the most extremely free-form period of Ra's career, contemporaneous with The Magic City (Saturn Records). Volume 1, recorded in April with an 11-member band, consisted of seven relatively short tracks (none over eight minutes), recorded in November with an octet, Volume 2, in contrast, was much freer and featured the side-long "The Sun Myth" and the 15-minute "Cosmic Chaos." The horn players and bassist Ronnie Boykins have plenty of room to stretch out and take full advantage. "A House of Beauty" offers five minutes of relatively lyrical respite between the other tracks.

It's worth getting the vinyl LP of Volume 2 just for the iconic cover designed by Paul Frick, consisting of a German astronomical chart of the solar system and portraits of Sun Ra and famous astronomers. Re-pressed for its 50th Anniversary in a limited edition on Esperanto-green, 180-gram vinyl

Press Quotes: "Even at their most dissonant, they're playful and spacious…'The Sun Myth' is a panoramic 18-minute fantasia in which two or three instruments at a time toss long, buzzing tones and high honks back and forth, then fall out of orbit again." - Douglas Wolk, #9 (in tandem with Vol. 1) on Spin's "The Top 100 Alternative Albums of the 1960s"
"Sun Ra's work with an ensemble often presents a stated emphasis on the percussive nature of solos as well as within the group context. The underlying freeform anti-structure allows defining contrasts that ultimately establish the progressing sonic sculpture. 'The Sun Myth' showcases Ra's definitive capabilities to guide his assembled musicians from anywhere within said group. …. The resulting interactions include mesmerizing bass solos from Ronnie Boykins as well as some impassioned alto sax work from Marshall Allen. Directly contrasting the works that surround it is 'A House of Beauty.' The emphasis shifts, juxtaposing Allen's unfettered piccolo solos with Ra on piano and Robert Cumming on bass clarinet. …. 'Cosmic Chaos' is the final and most archetypal of the ensemble works that Ra and his various Arkestras would produce throughout the '60s. - Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide Available from 17.07.2015
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