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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sun Ra and the All-Stars in Berlin, 1983


A find from Network Awesome, an all-star concert from 1983 led by Sun Ra of masters from various free-jazz schools (if I may use such a contentious term). From the Arkestra Marshal Allen on alto, drummer Clifford Jarvis, and the ever underappreciated John Gilmore on tenor; from the Art Ensemble of Chicago Lester Bowie on trumpet and Don Moye on drums and percussion; from Ornette Coleman's universe Don Cherry on trumpet; representing the Coltrane school Archie Shepp on tenor sax and Richard Davis on bass; and the odd man out, post-bop drummer extraordinaire Philly Joe Jones.

Strangely enough, nobody seems to be enjoying themselves much, particularly Shepp (who seems to be using a necktie for his strap), but even the normally ebullient Bowie. There seems to be some especially tense moments between Ra and Shepp, and between Ra and Jones, but there is much great music made, they even play the blues. Mercifully, the potential for overload is avoided. Some of the best moments come when the group breaks down into twos and threes, but even when everyone is playing, each instrument is in it's own space.

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