• Sun Ra & His Arkestra - Jazz in Silhouette [Expanded Edition]

Sun Ra & His Arkestra - Jazz in Silhouette [Expanded Edition]

Media Condition: M (New; Mint)
Jacket Condition: M (New; Mint)

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"In tomorrow's world, men will not need artificial instruments such as jets and space ships. In the world of tomorrow, the new man will 'think' the place he wants to go, then his mind will take him there."
— Sun Ra, Jazz in Silhouette album notes (1959)

Jazz in Silhouette is the quintessential record of Sun Ra's Chicago period during the late 1950s. Recorded in 1958 and issued in 1959, the album—Ra's third—offers a coda for the bandleader's bebop/hard-bop periods, as his interstellar traveler persona began to vividly evolve at the close of the decade. Sunny's compositions here reflect his talent for writing memorable works in the jazz idiom, even as arrangements like "Ancient Aiethopia" point to new directions in amalgamated primitive-futurism. After Ra moved to New York in 1961, he began to explore musical terrain away from jazz conventions. Yet Jazz in Silhouette is resplendent with adventure.

Many of these early works, including "Images," "Enlightment," and "Saturn," would remain staples in Arkestra set lists for the rest of Sunny's life. These recordings showcase the brilliant tenor sax stylings of John Gilmore and introduce the iconic playing of Marshall Allen and Pat Patrick; all three would remain with Ra for decades (as would bassist Ronnie Boykins). On the extended “Blues At Midnight,” each horn soloist stretches out as in a live club performance. Here, Sun Ra and the band radiate the period's Chicago jazz sound, with lilting melodies, intertwining chords, and surprising dynamic shifts.

This expanded edition, issued in vinyl, CD and digital formats, features additional material from the 1958 sessions, along with non-album bonus tracks from the period, some never-before issued, as well as rare stereo mixes. The CD and digital editions feature the full original album in the widely known monophonic mix. The eight album tracks are followed by four bonus tracks, "State Street" "Blues From Saturn," the single version of "Hours After," and another single, "Great Balls of Fire"; all are in mono.

The rest of the deluxe edition—call it Part 2—is in stereo, starting with the album Sound Sun Pleasure (which includes the stereo mix of "Enlightment," a title that appeared in mono on Jazz in Silhouette). This short collection wasn't issued on Saturn until 1970, but the works originated at the same Chicago recording sessions as Jazz in Silhouette. Two tracks feature the sultry vocal stylings of Hattie Randolph, sister of early Arkestra trumpeter Lucious Randolph. The rest of Part 2 features the premiere LP/CD release of five Jazz in Silhouette album tracks in full stereo. Every prior edition of the album had been monophonic. A stereo session tape was discovered by Michael D. Anderson of the Sun Ra Music Archive; five tracks were salvaged (although one is incomplete). The album's second stereo reel, unfortunately, cannot be located.

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