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Sun Ra, Salah Ragab

In Egypt

Label: Golden Years Of New Jazz

Format: CD

Genre: Jazz

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The real gems of this prized reissue from Leo Records's Golden Years vault imprint are two previously unreleased tracks. The first features Sun Ra and his Arkestra on an 18-minute "Watusa" from 1984, and the second features a 13-minute piece by Saleh Ragab's Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble, "Music for Angela Davis," from 1971. It's no surprise Sun Ra loved going to Egypt, what with all the astro-mythology he used in the Arkestra. This love shows brightly on "Egypt Strut" and "Dawn," two Ragab tunes played by Ra's band with the Egyptian percussionist sitting in. The early 1980s were a creatively thriving time for Sun Ra, and the band sounds tight, with a weave of percussion backing their every move. "Watusa" sounds like a bootleg, thin in audio but thrilling in execution. It's an unvarnished beauty. As for "Music for Angela Davis," it departs from the other Ragab pieces (there are three others on the CD) in that it's furiously triggered, full of heavy percussion, voices rambling over the top in spots, and tearing horns. For Sun Ra fans, this is a must.

Details
Cat. number: GY 1
Year: 1999

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