Label: CAM Jazz
Cam Jazz reissue the complete Black Saint and Soul Note works of Sun Ra in hisexemplary series of boxed sets dedicated to the catalogues of the legendary Italian labels. This set contains four albums in slipcases with original album artwork, housed in a sturdy box.
Reflections in Blue
“One of the finest Sun Ra recordings from his final years, this effort is particularly recommended due to the many Ra keyboard solos and John Gilmore features, the latter of which include a tenor showcase on "Opus In Springtime." Trumpeters Michael Ray and Ahmed Abdullah, altoist Marshall Allen and singer June Tyson also have their spots, and the repertoire consists of ten Ra originals (including a remake of "El Is the Sound of Joy") and three standard ballads. Overall, this is a fine all-around studio set. Recommended.”( AllMusic.com, S.Yanow)
“By the 1980s, Sun Ra was often revisiting the past in eccentric fashion. He had become interested again in the music of Fletcher Henderson and early Duke Ellington, and was playing occasional standards in concert, although in very much his own way. His 14-piece Arkestra of 1986 on this date not only performs demented renditions of "Say It Isn't So" and "Yesterdays" (hinting at swing while often including borderline outside solos), but originals that sound like crazy swing tunes, most notably the heated "Reflections In Blue" and "Nothin' From Nothin'." Certainly this studio set is not recommended for swing purists who take life too seriously, but the creative and often crazy music should delight many listeners. The follow-up album, Hours After, was recorded during the same two days.”(AllMusic.com, S.Yanow)
“On this continually interesting program, Sun Ra and his Arkestra perform typically odd versions of a couple of standards ("But Not for Me" and "Beautiful Love"), a swinging original ("Hours After") and two outside pieces ("Dance of the Extra Terrestrains" and "Love on a Far Away Planet"). Almost up to the level of Reflections In Blue (recorded during the same two-day period), this date features one of the stronger versions of Ra's band. The 14-piece orchestra consists of trumpeter Randall Murray, trombonist Tyrone Hill, seven reeds (including the perennials: tenorman John Gilmore, altoist Marshall Allen and Pat Patrick on alto), guitarist Carl LeBlanc and a four-piece rhythm section that includes two drummers. Recommended.” (AllMusic.com, S.Yanow)
A Tribute to Stuff Smith
"Forty years before recording this very interesting CD, keyboardist Sun Ra made his debut on records on a duet with violinist Stuff Smith, playing a haunting version of "Deep Purple." For this CD (one of Ra's final sessions) the quartet workout with violinist Billy Bang finds Ra doing a new version of "Deep Purple" and performing a variety of tunes associated with Smith. Actually, Ra was a bit hemmed in by the concept, and his conception of time was different than Bang's, so there is a certain amount of tension in the music. Also, Billy Bang has a much rougher sound and a freer style than Stuff Smith, but the end results are well worth hearing."(AllMusic.com – S.Yanow)