The planets align as the mighty Sun Ra Arkestra, under the direction of the maestro Marshall Allen, are releasing their first studio album in over twenty years, ‘Swirling’. “We truly hope that this recording brings much joy to a planet which is so deeply in need of a spirit sound and vibration,” states saxophonist Knoel Scott. “We hope it contributes to a change in the ominous direction of man’s journey through the cosmos.” “This new release is the Arkestra’s love offering to the world,” concludes Marshall Allen. “Beta music for a better world.” Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia, the new recording represents the continuation of a heartfelt rebirth of the Arkestra under Allen’s guidance since Sun Ra left the planet in 1993, gaining new generations of followers from their regular touring across the globe. With a big band line-up featuring long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson (RIP), Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune (RIP), Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchell, the album is a full-blooded celebration of Sun Ra’s legacy.
Marshall Allen: Alto Saxophone, EVI
Knoel Scott: Alto Saxophone
James Stewart: Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Danny Ray Thompson: Baritone Saxophone, Flute
Michael Ray: Trumpet
Cecil Brooks: Trumpet
Vincent Chancey: French Horn
Dave Davis: Trombone, Vocals
Farid Barron: Piano
Dave Hotep: Guitar
Tyler Mitchell: Bass
Wayne Anthony Smith, Jr.: Drums
Elson Nascimento: Surdo Drums, Percussion
Stanley “Atakatune” Morgan: Congas
Tara Middleton: Vocals, Violin
Hometown: Detroit Sessions 1990-2014
“This album will be part of the everlasting impact the Tribe collective had on our culture, on our hope and possibilities.” Herb Boyd. Strut and Art Yard present the first compilation bringing together the modern era recordings of Tribe, Detroit’s acclaimed independent jazz collective.
Tribe began as a musical ensemble in 1971 co-founded by Saxophonist Wendell Harrison and trombonist Phil Ranelin that soon expanded into a broad amalgam including a live collective and independent record label. Ignored by the mainstream, many African American jazz artists in Detroit and across the US began creating their own small imprints and Tribe emerged alongside other cultural entities to express selfdetermination goals in the city: saxophonist Ernie Rodgers with his sessions at Rapa House; John and Leni Sinclair’s Artist Workshop; Bruce Millan’s Repertory Theater; the Hastings Jazz Experience and the Strata Corporation led by Kenny Cox. Harrison’s ideas of independence, self-determination and education were central to the Tribe ethos: “I might be possessed with a drive to get the knowledge out,” explained Harrison, “because I see this as sustaining the future of the jazz diaspora, the jazz tradition.” Tribe album releases like Harrison’s ‘An Evening With The Devil’ (1972) releases November 8, 2019
Sun Ra Of Abstract Dreams.
Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5.
This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths.
Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.
AL CHEM – 160 Tons Of Sunlight Daily.
Digital Album release available via Bandcamp. Following the Weird Fiction release Al Chem steps up with a new album, a deep exploration into the mysterious electronic musical landscapes, Al Chem’s unique story continues with a new chapter of ambiant pathways.
AL CHEM – weird fiction.
No Hopper is a rework of the Ras Michael song No Hoppers, from his legendary album, Rastafari Dub, Chem’s version shuffles the pack of electronic percussion with organic, Moondog-like rhythms and hazy atmospheric chords; The Prophet pinpoints Chem’s GPS firmly in Berlin, just as The Red Tower blurs that kick-drum parallel between reggae and house music; Baudelaire sputters digital delay, piling on the pressure, a clatter of surgical implements performing an operation out of Dead Ringers, the patient storming out of the theatre with loosely fitted mechanical body parts; the instrumental No Hopper only serves to highlight the distant gathering storm. Ladder of Perfection rounds off the set with a drone, creaking with bubbling digital mud pools.
ArtYardLP2017 -Limited vinyl pressing 500 numbered 180gram tip-on sleeve.
Sun Ra Discipline 27-11
A bona fide Sun Ra classic, ‘Discipline 27-11’ was recorded by Impulse! producer Ed Michel in October 1972 at Streeterville Studios in Chicago and involved the largest Arkestra line-up Sun Ra had ever taken into a studio session. The recordings spawned two albums, the celebrated ‘Space Is The Place’ and ‘Discipline 27-11’ which would remain its rather mysterious occult twin. This official reissue was remastered from original tapes and was released for Record Store Day 2017.
Sun Ra Singles
Strut present a new definitive collection of singles released by jazz maverick Sun Ra during his Earth years, spanning 1952 to 1991. Released prolifically during the 1950s and more sporadically thereafter, primarily on the Saturn label, the 45s offer one-off meteorites from Ra’s prolific cosmic journey, tracing the development of his forward-thinking “Space-Bop” and his unique take on jazz and blues traditions which sounded unlike anything else from the period. As with his LPs, most 45s were only pressed in small runs and were sold at gigs and have since become extremely rare and sought after. Some have only been discovered in physical form in recent years; some were planned and pencilled but allegedly never made it to vinyl and some appeared as one-off magazine singles and posthumous releases.
Gilles Peterson Presents Sun Ra And His Arkestra: To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds
Strut follow up their hugely successful Marshall Allen-curated ‘In The Orbit Of Ra’ compilation with a newly curated set from the immense 125 LP back catalogue of jazz maverick, DIY philosopher and self-professed member of an “angel race”, Sun Ra. ‘To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds’ is a hand- picked selection from BBC 6Music DJ Gilles Peterson, long-time champion of Ra’s music and the UK’s leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts.
Planets Of Life Or Death: Amiens ’73.
A previously unreleased Sun Ra concert from Amiens, France in 1973. At times intense, ritualistic and visceral, the recording features the glistening ‘Lights On A Satellite’ featuring the spiritual tenor sax of John Gilmore and a rare instrumental version of ‘Love In Outer Space’.
Marshall Allen presents Sun Ra And His Arkestra: In The Orbit Of Ra.
Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen cuts through the sea of Sun Ra reissues to bring you a brilliantly curated introduction to the cosmic jazz master, celebrating what would have been his 100th earth year. A sumptuous collection of classics, rarities and unreleased tracks and versions.
Salah Ragab And The Cairo Jazz Band Present Egyptian Jazz.
These recordings present Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band’s definitive work, recorded in Heliopolis Egypt between 1968 and 1973. Western Jazz musicians have been fascinated with the world of Islam for many years, for religious – spiritual, musical and sociological reasons. It was therefore inevitable that musicians of the Arabian North African area would play a part in the interaction of these two Musical Cultures. The compositions correspond to the cross over of musical styles at the time of the recording, 6000 miles away across the Mediterranean and Atlantic in New York with releases on Moodsville by Yusef Lateef and RCA by Ahmud Abdul-Malik.
Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra Sleeping Beauty.
Sun Ra’s Sleeping Beauty is a towering document of late 1970s Arkestral prowess, the warmth and funkiness have made them favourites with Sun Ra fans. The recordings took place at New York’s Variety Recording Studios on three separate dates during 1979 (sessions that also yielded the material for Strange Celestial Road), and both records are highpoints of the Arkestra’s 1970s journey. Sleeping Beauty meanwhile is one of the most profound and compelling sets in the whole Ra discography, and the Variety Studio sound captures the Arkestra with unique clarity and depth. Recorded with an expanded 28-piece band, the album features woozy avant-ballad ‘Springtime Again’, the glittering future funk of ‘Door to the Cosmos’, and finally the stunning meditative, spiritualised groove of ‘Sleeping Beauty’. On Jupiter and Sleeping Beauty shines brightly from deep within the myriad Sun Ra galaxies!
Pat Patrick and The Baritone Saxophone Retinue SOUND ADVICE.
Art Yard Records is proud to present the first ever official reissue of Sun Ra Arkestra member Pat Patrick’s unique baritone sax masterpiece ‘Sound Advice’.
‘Of all the saxophones, it is our opinion that the one with the most distinctive sound, warmth and range that can reach into that of other saxophones, is the baritone sax.’ As composer, bandleader, and full-time member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Pat Patrick was a visionary musician whose singular contribution to the jazz tradition has not yet been fully recognised. As well holding down the baritone spot in the Arkestra for 35 years, Patrick played flute and alto, composed in both jazz and popular idioms, and was a widely respected musician, playing with Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, with whom he appeared on Africa/Brass. But he is best known for his crucial contributions to key Sun Ra recordings including Angels and Demons at Play, Jazz in Silhouette and Nubians of Plutonia, among dozens of others. But as a bandleader, Patrick only released one LP – the almost mythical Sound Advice, recorded with his Baritone Saxophone Retinue, a unique gathering of baritone saxophone masters including Charles Davis and Rene Mclean. First issued in 1977 on Sun Ra’s legendary Saturn Records imprint, Sound Advice is a deephued exploration of this special instrument, a lost masterpiece of Arkestrally-minded Ellingtonia where higher adepts of the lower cosmic tones are heard in rare conference. Unissued since original release, Art Yard Records is proud to bring this unique jazz masterpiece back into the limelight.
Sun Ra and his Mythic Science Arkestra The Paris Tapes: Live At Le Théâtre Du Châtelet 1971
Listening to the opening of Sun Ra ‘Live in Paris’ 1971 calls to mind a quote from the Musicians Psalm.
‘Praise Him with the Cymbals, the High sounding cymbals.’
As all events within the African Diaspora commence with the proclamation of the Drum, this analogy is an excellent example of the use of symbolism; orchestrated by Sun Ra. The praise of the Most High reflecting Sun Ra’s ever constant homage to the Creator. The Oration of the Drums speaks to the origins of what playwright Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) referred to as Great Black Music; Drum legend Lex Humphries with Danny Thompson on bongos, John Gilmore on timbales herald the entrance of Sun Ra, on Farfisa organ. The short violent bursts of sound echoing the crack of the whip, the shots through the woods by slave trackers bounty hunters and terrorists in white robes (sometimes blue uniforms) which savaged the communities of African Americans throughout the 19th and most of the 20th Century. This concert took place just three years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King when thought of a Black American President was nonexistent, at the furthest reaches of improbability despite congresswoman Shirley Chisolm’s 1972 bid which was considered merely symbolic. Today. The shots ricocheting from within … with black on black crime, unemployment and lack of education the … manifestation of a socio-physiology full of trauma, self hate and apathy … fuelled by a multi-media platform of disrespect, caricature and humiliation. Each step forward mired in the mud of intolerance. Look at how Google allowed themselves to be used to globally disrespect the first African American First Lady; what message was sent to the African American community and the world at large? THIS is the backdrop of the Music of Sun Ra; the struggle continues into the 21st Century. The clarion call of Sun Ra as relevant today as it was Fifty years ago; this is what gave birth to Sun Ra’s statement SPACE IS THE PLACE both literal and allegorical: thoughts, ideas, equations and constructions outside the petty bigotry, cruelty and inhumanity of MAN.
‘What do you do, when you know, that you know, that you know that your Wrong; you’ve got to Face the music … you’ve got to listen to the Cosmo sound.’
[ Sun Ra, 1988 ]