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Sun Ra Arkestra

Night of Purple Moon


Format: Vinyl LP

Out of stock

Sun Ra was a innovative jazz composer, pianist, synthesizer player, poet and philosophiser who was fascinated by cosmic philosophy. Ra’s fascination with all things ‘cosmic’ combined with his instrumental ability lead to the creation of off-kilter, avant-garde and highly experimental music. ‘The Night of the Purple Moon’ originally cut in 1970 showcases Sun Ra playing the Roksichord (a then state-of-the-art solid-state electronic keyboard manufactured by RMI, which simulated a harpsichord). On this record, Sun Ra assembles a rather small ensemble consisting of John Gilmore, Danny Davis and Stafford James. ‘The Night of the Purple Moon’ consists of 11 tracks (although there are 4 rare bonus tracks included) which shows a mellow and melodious side to Sun Ra. The Roksichord, like a Rhodes Piano, gives a wonderful psychedelic sound which creates an ethereal and other-worldly atmosphere. The overall sound is very subtle and hazy, almost like vintage lounge-jazz, but this is vintage lounge-jazz with real substance and highly articulate playing. Bursts of screeching saxophone appear regularly and create a wonderful ‘ying-and-yang’ affect against the mellow and subtle-groovy backdrop. The title track drops the subtlety and moves into a (relatively) swing-heavy groove which is lead by a nasal and winding Roksichord melody. ‘A Bird’s Eye View of Man’s World’ is the most off-kilter and angular track on the album and, although relatively subtle in comparison to say Brotzmann or Ascension era Coltrane, it does have that ‘inside-out’ clattering psychedelic quality to it which will keep your head spinning throughout. Towards the end of the album proper, ‘Dance of The Living Image’ is wonderful piece of melodious and subtle space-jazz which sees electric bass and the Roksichord changing tempo’s and almost battling each other, whilst faint elements of Egyptian melodic-motifs drift past. As a bonus, listeners are given a alternate (and longer) take of closing track ‘Love In Outer Space’, as well as being treated to three previously unissued Wurlitzer solos which were home recordings, made in New York in 1964. Each of the Wurlitzer solos are unfortunately only approximately two minutes long which isn’t enough time to make a meaningful track, although their eerie resonance does charm. This album is an essential purchase for those who wish to hear the more intimate and hazy side of Sun Ra as he goes on a melodic mission to the edge of jazz. ‘The Night of the Purple Moon’ was issued on Saturn records in 1972 and a reissue as part of the ABC-Impulse! Series was intended but never happened. This led to the album becoming a collector’s item. As the master-tapes were damaged, this reissue is taken from an unplayed LP, however the Saturn Vinyl produced in this period was of notoriously poor quality. This means that the sound is quite thin and tinny and occasionally you can hear crackles from the vinyl. Don't let that put you off though as the sound has a real authenticity to it.- Impromusic

Cat. number: SATURN 522
Year: 2010
Genre: Jazz