Have you ever had a ‘relationship’ with a band or musician that is appealing and intimidating in equal measures? Where you want to dive in, but don’t know where to start? Or even worse, the fear that if you jump in the wrong end you might drown and never dare to go near the edge again?
If so, you’ll have no problem relating to my sense of gratitude and relief towards Strut’s latest compilation. In commemoration of what would have been Sun Ra’s 100th birthday ‘In the Orbit of Ra’ is (according to the label) ”the first internationally released compilation to provide an introduction to the music of Sun Ra, all mastered from the original tapes”.
The reputation that follows over 25 years of experimentation with both music and spirituality is unavoidable. With that amount of detail and history, a brief summary from a source with the inside track is therefore invaluable. Handy then, that the compilation has been compiled by Marhshall Allen – longest serving member and current band leader of Sun Ra’s Arkestra.
Even beginning to consider communicating the contents of the release would be futile, regardless of knowledge or past experience. Surely there is no alternative for someone in my (or possibly your) shoes but to get hold of the LP and give it the time and space it deserves. Thank god it came out last week.