Hey! This performance was recorded live at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival in 1973! Not only that, it was preserved by Detroit’s favorite rock ’n’ roll revolutionary, John Sinclair. While the old White Panther’s hair is turning gray down in New Orleans of late, Sinclair’s document of Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Orchestra is still as insurgent as ever. Captured at a time when free jazz was on the rise and Sun Ra’s esoteric cosmology had reached full flower, this live recording is another fine testament to jazz’s most "out there" bandleader-composer. With an outrageous arsenal of squealing saxophones manned by Ra mainstays, including legendary tenor star John Gilmore and altoist Marshall Allen, Sun Ra leads his faithful entourage through a number of thoroughly original compositions. The theme of outer space permeates the entire set and Sun Ra’s use of Farfisa and mini-Moog is otherworldly, even by today’s standards. Ra’s sprawling big band arrangements are filled with layers of percussion as well as wild, multiphonic smears of reeds and brass. Vocalist June Tyson brings the proceedings back to Earth, but only to spread messages like "The Universe Has More to Offer You." Exhorting angels and aliens alike, Sun Ra’s space-age exhibitionism broke the barrier between tribal-cult shamanism and playing music with a band, just as Duke Ellington did before him and George Clinton has done since. Not the best Sun Ra disc and certainly not the worst, Outer Space Employment Agency is waiting for you to apply.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.