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Sun Ra – Ellingtonia, Vol. 2


vm 117
Here’s a second volume of Sun Ra paying tribute to one of his favorite musical geniuses. And here’s roughly the same annotation adapted from volume one, revised where appropriate. This encore collection of Ellingtonia features material both previously released and unreleased. Some tracks originated with the Sun Ra Music Archive, maintained by Michael D. Anderson; others came from the Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), Chicago. A handful were derived from sources licit and illicit. As with any Sun Ra compilation, audio fidelity varies from the sublime to the near-ridiculous. However, as any Ra fan will attest, the fidelity is secondary to the excitement of the performance.

The collection opens with a lo-fi 1950s-era version of “Flamingo,” on which Ra plays piano and Solovox simultaneously, with some percussion buried beneath the clatter. This short take segues into a magnificent 1978 studio recording of the same title with the full Arkestra. (This version originally appeared on the Sweet Earth LP The Other Side of the Sun.) Two tracks, “Perdido” and “Satin Doll,” were apparently (rather well-)recorded by a ticketholder at a Bottom Line Arkestral tribute to the Duke in 1987. Extracted from a bootleg, these tracks have been sonically upgraded a tad. Two tracks were cheaply recorded in Chicago – “Caravan,” from 1958, captured at the Pershing Ballroom, and “Sophisticated Lady,” recorded at home in a 1951 duet with bassist Wilbur Ware. Three tracks were recorded live in Europe in the 1980s, and “In a Sentimental Mood” originated at a very informal home rehearsal, likely in the 1970s… Bandcamp

01. Flamingo (Chicago, 1950s) (1:47)
02. Flamingo (New York, 1978) (4:42)
03. Perdido (New York, 1987) (5:00)
04. Caravan (Pershing Ballroom, 1958) (2:10)
05. In My Solitude (Mannheim, 1982) (7:10)
06. In a Sentimental Mood (Sun Studio) (5:35)
07. Happy as the Day is Long (Austria, 1984) (3:20)
08. Sophisticated Lady (Chicago, 1951) (3:24)
09. Prelude to a Kiss (Bremen, 1986) (6:52)
10. Satin Doll (New York, 1987) (9:52)
11. Sun Ra – Take the ‘A’ Train (solo piano, 1977) (3:57)
12. Take the ‘A’ Train (vocal version, Santa Cruz, 1987) (6:31)

All keyboards by Sun Ra. Arkestra personnel varies.
Vocal on “Take the ‘A’ Train” by Mr. TCIII
Compilation, audio restoration, annotation: Irwin Chusid
Cover design by Tony Kellers/Twelve3
Art by Neil McInnes/
Tape transfers: Haruhi Kobayashi of ESS, and Michael D. Anderson/Sun Ra Music Archive
Master rights: Sun Ra LLC

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