The Myth Lives On - Sun Ra Dedication
(CD Kindred Spirits / Groove Attack)
Sun Ra was certainly one of the most controversial yet most entertaining personalities of modern jazz. The bandleader, composer and keyboardist who claimed to be an extraterrestrial from the planet Saturn led his Myth-Science Solar Arkestra into zones far removed from standard jazz fare.
Sun Ra was born Herman "Sonny" Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, between 1910 and 1916, maybe 1914 and made an impressive career whilst recording countless albums (for his bio have a look at artistdirect.com or eyeneer.com). As a dedication to Sun Ra and in remembrance of the tenth anniversary of his death on May, 30th 1993, Dutch label Kindred Spirit, a sub-label of Rush Hour Recordings, releases The Myth Lives On.
Even though this project sees musicans and producers from different musical angles doing cover versions of Sun Ra songs the result still sounds coherent and offers an interesting opportunity to get familiar with Sun Ra and his music.
There are the odd and somehow spaced-out Space Chords 1-5, interludes recorded by the Francisco Mora's Outerzone Band, a former drummer of Sun Ra's Arkestra. The Outerzone Band also deliver a straight ahead jazz cover of Suny.
One of the highlights is Door Of The Cosmos by Build An Ark, who deliver a great version with soulful vocals, flute, handclaps and overall great more organic instrumentation.
Also very good is Saga Of Resistance by Theo Parrish, although this sounds more like Theo Parrish does on most of his records, i.e. a slow hypnotic house driven beat with some vocal effects.
Offworld turns Astro Black in a timeless modern soul gem with the inclusion of Vanessa Freeman on vocals (and you may remember what a good job Vanessa did for Nathan Haines on his Squire For Hire album).
King Britt brings us a downtempo jazz inspired version of Black (A Shade Of), Recloose ft. Jonathan Crayford has covered Paepulsariki as a laid back lounge influenced version.
Departure Point re-done by Mocky is also more relaxed and downtempo with a nice guitar.
And then there's also a broken beat influenced version of Nuclear War by Mustang and Love In Outta Space by Jimi Tenor and some -in my ears- more discordant versions by Yesterdays New Quintet (who also covered Nuclear War) and Philip Charles with deconStrUctioN of a new eRA, that comes as CD bonus track.
On the whole The Myth Lives On is an interesting offering that shows how much jazz music has evolved in recent years and it gives us some fine music from the borders of jazz, downtempo, lounge, house and soul. If you like your music more left-field this is definitely worth a listen.
(for more information visit rushhour.nl and www.grooveattack.com)