Sun Ra And His Arkestra: Sun Ra (piano); Marshall Allen, James Spaulding (alto saxophone, flute); John Gilmore (tenor saxophone); Pat Patrick (baritone saxophone, flute); Charles Davis (baritone saxophone); Hobart Dotson (trumpet); Julian Priester (trombone); Ronnie Boykins (bass); William Cochran (drums).
Producers: Ihnfinity, Inc., Alton Abraham.
Recorded at El Saturn Studio, Chicago, Illinois in 1958. Originally released on El Saturn Records (205). Includes liner notes by Francis Davis.
A fascinating recording of Sun Ra and his Arkestra in an early incarnation, 1958's JAZZ IN SILHOUETTE features Ra's complex, adventurous compositions in traditional bop and swing contexts. The opening "Enlightenment" has edgy piano accompaniment from Ra, and a Cuban rhythm outro, but its breezy melody is reminiscent of Duke Ellington circa his Okeh period. "Blues at Midnight" is an up-tempo bop number with outstanding solos from all members of the Arkestra.
Complex themes ("Saturn") and fractured blues ("Horoscope") show qualities integral to the style Ra would develop in the following years. In particular, the drawn-out ensemble explorations of "Ancient Aiethopia"--which are infused with tribal percussion, flute, and chant-like themes--serve as a blueprint for the artist's signature sound. This album is an excellent, accessible introduction to the music of Sun Ra, ideal for those who may be intimidated by Ra's more challenging later work.
- Format: Vinyl
- Released: 11/29/2011