Helsinki 1971 - The Complete Concert and Interview
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(2-CD + DVD set) This is the 20th Sun Ra release on Transparency/Cobraside, and is possibly the best. Double CD contains an entire 2 1/2 hour concert showcasing all dimensions of the group: free jazz, psychedelia, the beautiful vocals of June Tyson, and a one-way ticket to space with several astounding Sun Ra synthesizer solos. The performance and recording quality are so great that this could easily pass for a missing studio album. The bonus DVD contains a short TV interview with Sun Ra filmed the same day as the broadcast concert, and was aired only once on Finnish television and was never seen again... until now! All proudly licensed from YLE - The Finnish Broadcasting Company.
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The audio quality of the broadcast performance is truly stellar by live recording standards, and is nearly as good as some of the Ra studio recordings of the period. There is a slight shallowness to some tracks, and the bass does dominate on two percussion heavy funky tracks, but I really like those tracks. The performances themselves are amazing, of course, and I am very excited by this set. There is quite a lot of variety here to satisfy most types of Ra fan, but there is an emphasis on the extended Disciplines type of performance. But this is not a purely free form outside excursion like some other period recordings. There is a well crafted and managed balance with a few lighter pieces and the solos from John Gilmore and Marshall Allen really blend very well with the arrangements, which give plenty of room for both of them and others to soar as required. The Ra solo does quote from a standard, but I can't quite identify it. It is very beautiful and drifts into space quite freely at times.
The set contains:
1. announcer/Discipline #?
2. Theme of the stargazers
3. Discipline 8
4. Love in Outer Space
7. unidentified Ra solo/announcer
1. Calling Planet Earth
2. unidentified title
3. Space is the Place
4. Angels and Demons at Play
5. The Satellites are Spinning
6. Second Stop is Jupiter
7. Somewhere Else
8. To Nature's God
9. Sun Ra and his Band from Outer Space Prepare for the Journey to Other Worlds/Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.
I hope you enjoy this release as much I have for the last few weeks.