Thursday, 26 October 2017

Sun Ra : Outer Spaceways Incorporated

  • Category: Top Products
  • Published on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:18
  • Written by Super User
  • Hits: 108

Somewhere There - 15.10
Outer Spaceways Incorporated - 7.02
Intergalactic Motion - 8.07
Saturn - 6.08
Song Of The Sparer - 4.22
Spontaneous Simplicity - 7.56


OUTER SPACEWAYS INCORPORATED (disc 1) (Previously Released As BL 760191) "Instruction to the peoples of earth: You must realize that you have the right to love beauty. You must prepare to live life to the fullest extent. Of course it takes imagination, but you don't have to be an educated person to have that. Imagination can teach you the true meaning of pleasures. Listening can be one of the greatest of pleasures. You must learn to listen, because by listening you will learn to see with your mind's eye. You see, music paints pictures that only the mind's eye can see. Open your ears so that you can see with the eye of the mind." This statement by Sun Ra accompanied the first recording made of this music in 1956. Then as now his music was exceptional, and one could write at length about the artistic mastery and originality he has shown in thirty albums over the last fifteen years, and his towering importance as a composer for improvisers. Then as now, however, Sun Ra's words made it clear that he was not essentially concerned with music as such, but with using it as a means to communicate insight and understanding. Ever since he founded the Arkestra, musicians have looked up to him as a teacher and have come to him for guidance. Some have dedicated themselves completely to his music and his philosophy and (whether for only a few months or, as with men like John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, for over fifteen years) joined the Arkestra, an ensemble which is also a tribal community of which he is both chief and prophet. Through their work, his musical influence is shown in much free jazz, as well as more commercial groups such as the Mothers of Inventions and Pink Floyd. But, spiritually, he has exerted a, perhaps, even wider influence, not only through members of the Arkestra, but through many other musicians, such as John Coltrane, who have sought his guidance in this sphere alone. For many years Sun Ra was the ONLY artist in jazz or popular music who spoke of spiritual matters, the ONLY artist whose work was intended to express a deeper meaning. Now that others like Coltrane and George Harrison have started trying to follow his example, this aspect of his achievement becomes more strikingly significant with every year. Sun Ra calls his music 'Space Music' or 'Intergalactic Music'. His fundamental idea is that man is not the center of creation, but a mere speck in an endless universe. (This insight is, of course, neither very new nor very startling, yet countless generations of religious and scientific thinkers have failed to persuade man to accept its implications.) Since this is its subject, the music naturally transcends simple human emotions and forms, and portrays larger and more complex realities. Although Sun Ra's compositions emphasize earthly rich textures and forceful improvising, the resulting feeling is of humility and selflessness Ð the musicians are not expressing their egos or his, but giving a portrait of the All in which man is such an insignificant part. Sun Ra's own words: "I'm actually painting pictures of infinity with my music, and that's why a lot of people can't understand it. But if they'd listen to this and to other types of music, they'll find that mine has something else in it, something from another world." The effect on man of seeing himself in his true perspective should be liberating: "When a person begins to see and feel his insignificance, then he can see his worth and worthlessness and see that sometimes worthlessness and valuelessness and pricelessness are synonyms on another plane of understanding." This attitude will help him face and grasp new aspects of reality: "Intergalactic music concerns the music of galaxies. It concerns intergalactic thought and intergalactic travel, so it is really outside the realms of the future on the turning points of the impossible. But it is still existent, as astronomy testifies." Finally, the purpose is to enrich our lives on this planet: "The real aim of this music is to coordinate the minds of people into an intelligent reach for a better world, and an intelligent approach to the living future." By now it will be clear that, although his interests appear not to be of this world, Sun Ra's real goal is to help humanity. In fact, he feels this must be the goal of all worthwhile music: "A sound music is to build sound bodies, sound minds and sound hearts." But unlike the average reforming idealist Ð not to mention those he wants to reform Ð Sun Ra has no illusions about humanity. Doubly an outcast, as an artist-philosopher in a materialistic society and as a black man in a white society, he has seen us for what we are. He once stated he would welcome the destruction of white civilization, "Because it has never done anything for me but try to stop me, try to make my so-called life ugly like the rest of black people... When people try to destroy the kindness and love in a person, they deserve the cruelest dimensions the Creator can cast upon them." As for the black race: "I couldn't approach black people with the truth because they like lies. They live lies. They say, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.', but I don't see them doing that... If you can see me playing before black folks, you'll see they're uncomfortable because I'm beauty and they're ugly." His biggest hope is in the hippies and the colleges, "Because this natural instinct tells them, 'You have got to go another way'... It's a good sign for a race when you have some people who really recognize that. You haven't had that too much in the black race.'" This is the audience he is now reaching, both in the United States and in his highly successful concerts in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Holland. Sun Ra reaches the young audience because, although his music does transcend simple human emotions and forms, at the same time it is utterly rooted in them. The hundreds of students who surged towards the Arkestra at Liverpool University and joined in with stamping and clapping and chants of "Ra, Ra, Ra" testified to the fact that the music draws its strength from traditions of the most basic and universal appeal. The central source is black music, which, in rock, jazz, blues and their derivatives, is a common musical language for the whole Western world. At live performances, it can seem we are being shown a panorama of the complete range and achievements of black music - not to mention the costumes and movements and projections, and the many other musical areas explored - so wide is the variety of forms and so strong is the authority with which they are presented. A single album gives only a very limited idea of the full scope, but even so it is clearly suggested in the enclosed concert recording. Take the warmth of the flute and Latin American rhythm on Spontaneous Simplicity, for instance, and compare it with the gravely lyrical Song of the Sparer, or the violently free alto and colorful drum solos on Somewhere There. Or take Saturn, a more conventional big band piece with its fine tenor solo by John Gilmore in his style of the 1950s, when he so greatly influenced the playing of John Coltrane. Finally, for conclusive proof of Sun Ra's powerful handling of very contrasting materials, take Outer Spaceways. His own spavined piano and the carefully controlled clanking dissonance of the horns are at once impressively advanced and complex musical statements and a convincing interpretation of the subject of the piece. Yet alongside these elements we find the Arkestra performing a chant of such timeless simplicity that it can only be called pre-musical. Sun Ra means to reach every man. Ñ Victor Schonfield (1971) **** ----------------------------------------------------------------*** OUTER SPACEWAYS INCORPORATED (disc 1) (Previously Released As BL 760191) "Instruction to the peoples of earth: You must realize that you have the right to love beauty. You must prepare to live life to the fullest extent. Of course it takes imagination, but you don't have to be an educated person to have that. Imagination can teach you the true meaning of pleasures. Listening can be one of the greatest of pleasures. You must learn to listen, because by listening you will learn to see with your mind's eye. You see, music paints pictures that only the mind's eye can see. Open your ears so that you can see with the eye of the mind." This statement by Sun Ra accompanied the first recording made of this music in 1956. Then as now his music was exceptional, and one could write at length about the artistic mastery and originality he has shown in thirty albums over the last fifteen years, and his towering importance as a composer for improvisers. Then as now, however, Sun Ra's words made it clear that he was not essentially concerned with music as such, but with using it as a means to communicate insight and understanding. Ever since he founded the Arkestra, musicians have looked up to him as a teacher and have come to him for guidance. Some have dedicated themselves completely to his music and his philosophy and (whether for only a few months or, as with men like John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, for over fifteen years) joined the Arkestra, an ensemble which is also a tribal community of which he is both chief and prophet. Through their work, his musical influence is shown in much free jazz, as well as more commercial groups such as the Mothers of Inventions and Pink Floyd. But, spiritually, he has exerted a, perhaps, even wider influence, not only through members of the Arkestra, but through many other musicians, such as John Coltrane, who have sought his guidance in this sphere alone. For many years Sun Ra was the ONLY artist in jazz or popular music who spoke of spiritual matters, the ONLY artist whose work was intended to express a deeper meaning. Now that others like Coltrane and George Harrison have started trying to follow his example, this aspect of his achievement becomes more strikingly significant with every year. Sun Ra calls his music 'Space Music' or 'Intergalactic Music'. His fundamental idea is that man is not the center of creation, but a mere speck in an endless universe. (This insight is, of course, neither very new nor very startling, yet countless generations of religious and scientific thinkers have failed to persuade man to accept its implications.) Since this is its subject, the music naturally transcends simple human emotions and forms, and portrays larger and more complex realities. Although Sun Ra's compositions emphasize earthly rich textures and forceful improvising, the resulting feeling is of humility and selflessness Ð the musicians are not expressing their egos or his, but giving a portrait of the All in which man is such an insignificant part. Sun Ra's own words: "I'm actually painting pictures of infinity with my music, and that's why a lot of people can't understand it. But if they'd listen to this and to other types of music, they'll find that mine has something else in it, something from another world." The effect on man of seeing himself in his true perspective should be liberating: "When a person begins to see and feel his insignificance, then he can see his worth and worthlessness and see that sometimes worthlessness and valuelessness and pricelessness are synonyms on another plane of understanding." This attitude will help him face and grasp new aspects of reality: "Intergalactic music concerns the music of galaxies. It concerns intergalactic thought and intergalactic travel, so it is really outside the realms of the future on the turning points of the impossible. But it is still existent, as astronomy testifies." Finally, the purpose is to enrich our lives on this planet: "The real aim of this music is to coordinate the minds of people into an intelligent reach for a better world, and an intelligent approach to the living future." By now it will be clear that, although his interests appear not to be of this world, Sun Ra's real goal is to help humanity. In fact, he feels this must be the goal of all worthwhile music: "A sound music is to build sound bodies, sound minds and sound hearts." But unlike the average reforming idealist Ð not to mention those he wants to reform Ð Sun Ra has no illusions about humanity. Doubly an outcast, as an artist-philosopher in a materialistic society and as a black man in a white society, he has seen us for what we are. He once stated he would welcome the destruction of white civilization, "Because it has never done anything for me but try to stop me, try to make my so-called life ugly like the rest of black people... When people try to destroy the kindness and love in a person, they deserve the cruelest dimensions the Creator can cast upon them." As for the black race: "I couldn't approach black people with the truth because they like lies. They live lies. They say, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.', but I don't see them doing that... If you can see me playing before black folks, you'll see they're uncomfortable because I'm beauty and they're ugly." His biggest hope is in the hippies and the colleges, "Because this natural instinct tells them, 'You have got to go another way'... It's a good sign for a race when you have some people who really recognize that. You haven't had that too much in the black race.'" This is the audience he is now reaching, both in the United States and in his highly successful concerts in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Holland. Sun Ra reaches the young audience because, although his music does transcend simple human emotions and forms, at the same time it is utterly rooted in them. The hundreds of students who surged towards the Arkestra at Liverpool University and joined in with stamping and clapping and chants of "Ra, Ra, Ra" testified to the fact that the music draws its strength from traditions of the most basic and universal appeal. The central source is black music, which, in rock, jazz, blues and their derivatives, is a common musical language for the whole Western world. At live performances, it can seem we are being shown a panorama of the complete range and achievements of black music - not to mention the costumes and movements and projections, and the many other musical areas explored - so wide is the variety of forms and so strong is the authority with which they are presented. A single album gives only a very limited idea of the full scope, but even so it is clearly suggested in the enclosed concert recording. Take the warmth of the flute and Latin American rhythm on Spontaneous Simplicity, for instance, and compare it with the gravely lyrical Song of the Sparer, or the violently free alto and colorful drum solos on Somewhere There. Or take Saturn, a more conventional big band piece with its fine tenor solo by John Gilmore in his style of the 1950s, when he so greatly influenced the playing of John Coltrane. Finally, for conclusive proof of Sun Ra's powerful handling of very contrasting materials, take Outer Spaceways. His own spavined piano and the carefully controlled clanking dissonance of the horns are at once impressively advanced and complex musical statements and a convincing interpretation of the subject of the piece. Yet alongside these elements we find the Arkestra performing a chant of such timeless simplicity that it can only be called pre-musical. Sun Ra means to reach every man. Ñ Victor Schonfield (1971) **** ----------------------------------------------------------------***

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