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The Magic City (180 Gram Vinyl) Original recording reissued
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SUN RA and his SOLAR ARKESTRA THE MAGIC CITY Sun Ra's self-proclaimed "space jazz" underwent a transformation in the mid-'60s. The Magic City is an aural snapshot of that metamorphic process. Many enthusiasts and scholars consider this to be among Ra's most definitive studio recordings. MUSICIANS: Sun Ra – piano, clavioline Pat Patrick – baritone saxophone, flute, tympani John Gilmore – tenor saxophone Marshall Allen – alto saxophone, flute, oboe, piccolo Danny Davis – alto saxophone, flute Harry Spencer – alto saxophone Robert Cummings – bass clarinet Walter Miller – trumpet Chris Capers – trumpet Ali Hassan – trombone Teddy Nance – trombone Bernard Pettaway – trombone Roger Blank – Percussion Ronnie Boykins – bass Jimmi Johnson – Percussion TRACKLIST: "The Magic City" – (27:22) "The Shadow World" – (10:55) "Abstract Eye" – (2:51) "Abstract 'I'" – (4:08) SATURN 711
Top customer reviews
If you're not completely scared off by this, I strongly recommend buying this album; the title suite is an incredibly intense collective improvisation: Sun Ra plays his eerie clavioline while Marshall Allen manically toots his piccolo and Ronnie Boykins does some killer bowing. Finally the rest of the band joins in to what may be some of the most intense and challenging fifteen minutes ever recorded. It truly is from outer space. The second half of the CD is full of shorter pieces that aren't quite as mind blowing but are still remarkable.
Get it if you dare.
I am continually amazed and confounded by jazz music, and as my jazz education has progressed, I've had to rid myself of the notion that if I hear something I don't like by a given musician, I will never like anything by that musician. Likewise, I'm learning that just because I like something by someone doesn't mean I will like all their other stuff. Many jazz artists are continually reinventing themselves and trying new and different things, and apparently, that is what Sun Ra did on one or the other of two CD's I have, this one and Jazz in Silhouette. I say that because JIS is a study in big band, swing jazz. Very dynamic and interesting. And very different from this CD. TMC is a study in using the theramin (or something that sounds like one) to make noise, and it just about puts me in therapy. This CD has its moments, and make no mistake, this is intricate and intriguing...well...not music. Sound. Sonny and his musicians sound like they are experimenting, and the result is what you would expect: a lot of sonic data that requires the listener to analyze it. There is nothing resembling a melody or harmony here, nothing that could be written on a score, nothing that you would find yourself humming while doing the laundry or cutting the grass. Also, I've visited Birmingham AL ("The Magic City") many times and live only 90 miles from there, and I would protest that I have some idea of what a CD about the city might sound like. To me, Sun Ra's version just isn't it. I suppose the silver lining to this dark cloud is that I bought Jazz in Silhouette before TMC. Had the order been reversed, there is a good chance I never would have gotten around to buying Jazz in Silhouette, one of my favorite jazz recordings of all time. So hard core Sun Ra fans, avant-garde fans, fans of the unique and unusual in explorations of sound, rhythm, and dynamics, come and get it. Jazz fanatics seeking music: please look elsewhere.