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Strange Celestial Road
Format: MP3 MusicChange
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 1999
No matter what "Strange Celestial Road" you find yourself traveling, chances are Sun Ra was there first. The legendary bandleader shocked and thrilled audiences with his "outer space" music for decades. On this disk, Sun Ra shows off his piano playing prowess and his absolute mastery of his Arkestra. The title track is deceptive at first, reminding one almost of a pop song at times. But don't get lulled into complacency because the Arkestra will soon send you spinning off this planet. June Tyson delivers Sun Ra's lyrics faithfully but with force. "Where human eyes have never seen/I'll build a world of abstract dreams/I'll wait for you." If you have strongly held opinions about what "is" and what "isn't" jazz or believe music "ought" to be a certain traditional way, this record is likely to infuriate you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy "Traveling/Strange Celestial Roads/Strange Celestial Roads/To endless heaven", you will love this voyage.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2001
This was the first Sun Ra album I ever bought and is still my favourite. Not quite as far out as some of his 1960s material and perhaps the most accessible of his truly great works, it features a formidable late-1970s version of the Arkestra on 3 extended tracks, each of which develops beautifully and spontaneously into a spaced out mantra half way between John Coltrane's "Ascension" and Funkadelic's "One nation under a groove".

Everything about this album is totally brilliant - cosmic lyrics, freaked out solos scattered over a musical landscape always on the verge of chaos but continually steered into new directions by inspired musicians at the peak of their powers, even the artwork and OTT hype in the sleevenotes (which for once is fully justified)....

Absolutely essential!!!!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2002
The music here has a vibe not dissimilar to that on "Lanquidity", another album currently in-print that was recorded late in a New York night during the disco age. And like that album (as well as the hard-to-find "Sleeping Beauty" and "On Jupiter") featuring an Arkestra that had some R&B roots in the ground.
The music is gentle "quiet storm" R&B with washes of sound over the top ... the recording here is clear and crisp. It's gentle groove music and there's a kind of perfection to it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 1999
A brilliant strange album that is very spacy. This is probably not a album for old school jazz puritans, it's a album for those who want more. Sun Ra looks like his music, that is very wired, in a positive sence. He gives his musicians complete freedoom. You can hear the musicians really enjoing themselves in the way they play. A chaotic album in a chaotic world !
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2002
I am a huge fan of Sun Ra, but I don't think this album is as good as his best. There are three long sprawling tracks. It is pretty avant garde stuff and if you like the jazzier Sun Ra, as I do, then this isn't one of the better ones. If you are into avant garde you may enjoy it more than I do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2010
As you can quickly read from fellow review-writing Arkestronauts, this date diverged nicely into a groove and ambient-space feeling not easily found on most Sun Ra dates. But before you get the wrong idea, keep in mind there are many savory moments of free-blowing here from Gilmore/Allen etc and June Tyson's vocals punctuate nicely, (as they usually do). Of special note is the playing of Sun Ra himself who on this album dabs with the colors of his various keyboards like a skilled painter. His playing on this album is worth the cost of the CD alone.

Quite interestingly, it seems any of these three tracks could be played in a set with Frank Zappa's slightly earlier Waka Jawaka or The Grand Wazoo.

The music here, as was the case with those two albums, slipped over the boundaries created by recording executives into someplace new. It became music that "trendmongers" would have a hard time finding a label for back then and by today's standards it would easily fit a class of it's own. Fusion? What a poor choice of a word for so much good music--music which even up until now in this horribly boring environment of neoclassicism has never really gotten its due.

Strange Celestial Road is anyone with a taste for the missing links of the 1970's.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2007
there are a lot of sun ra albums that i love, and a lot of them that i cannot stand. the pretentious avant-garde ones tend to fall into the second category. this one, though avant-garde in nature, is actually very listenable. featuring a lot of fantastic sax work from john gilmore, this is a great place to dip your feet into sun ra's freaky side. the great john coltrane was a huge fan of john gilmore, and it's easy to figure out why. the compostions on this album are 'out there' in nature, but yet easy to reach with your heart. i recommend this to those with a taste for musical adventuring.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Eccentric muso maks good, a more melodic offering from Run Ra, born Herman Sonny Blount, in Birmingham Alabama, Eccentric in the extreme and loving a rum and coke, Mr Ra makes a better example of reconciling his free jazz roots and melody. Commended. Maybe he was thinking of the days when he composed for Fletcher Henderson.
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