Sun Ra discography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Sun Ra discography is one of the largest in music history.[1][2] The American jazz keyboardist, bandleader and composer recorded dozens of singles and over one hundred full-length albums, comprising well over 1000 songs, and making him one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th century.[3]

History[edit]

His own El Saturn Records albums were usually printed in editions of 75 copies per album, and were sold primarily at live performances. Many of Sun Ra's early albums were recorded at home by Ra himself on wire or early tape recorders, and are decidedly lo-fi. Despite the technological limitations, Ra used some innovative recording techniques, and these recordings provided an unprecedented level of documentation, and were inspirational in showing how artists could take control of the means of production and distribution of their works.

Prior to the 1970s, most of these albums were produced in Chicago through the "El Saturn Records Research" enterprise established by Ra and his colleague Alton Abraham, while later El Saturn Records were produced in Philadelphia. A batch of the most significant recordings were licensed to Impulse! Records in the mid-1970s. They were not as successful as hoped, and were deleted from the Impulse catolog, becoming available around the world as inexpensive "cut-outs" and making the music more widely available.

Most El Saturn Records were hand-decorated by Arkestra members, and these LP records sometimes sell for high prices among collectors. These El Saturn Records releases, dating from the 1950s to at least the late 1980s, typically had little or no information as to performers or recording dates, and sometimes didn't even list the songs on the album, often pressing one LP side from one era with another from a different decade, leading to some confusion among completists and fans.

After Sun Ra's death, many of his recordings were released on compact disc for the first time by Evidence Records, Ihnfinity Music, ESP Disk / ZYX Music, or Impulse!. As is the case with an artist whose output is so extensive, there is quite a bit of debate regarding his "best" albums. Of all these recordings, many critics and enthusiasts feel that the 1959 big band album Jazz In Silhouette is the best entry-point into his work,[4] with the Penguin Guide To Jazz naming the album as part of a recommended "Core Collection" for any serious jazz fan and as "one of the most important jazz records since [World War II]."[5]

Albums[edit]

Studio[edit]

Recorded Album Credited artist Original Label(s)
1956 Jazz by Sun Ra (aka Sun Song) Sun Ra and his Arkestra Transition
1956 Super-Sonic Jazz Le Sun Ra and his Arkestra El Saturn
1956 Sound of Joy Sun Ra and the Arkestra Delmark Records
1956-58 Visits Planet Earth Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra El Saturn
1958-59 The Nubians of Plutonia (aka The Lady with the Golden Stockings) Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1959 Jazz in Silhouette Sun Ra and his Arkestra El Saturn
1959 Sound Sun Pleasure!! Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra El Saturn
1959-60 Interstellar Low Ways (aka Rocket Number Nine) Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1960 Fate In A Pleasant Mood Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1960 Holiday For Soul Dance Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Arkestra El Saturn
1956-60 Angels and Demons at Play Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1956-61 We Travel The Space Ways Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1961 The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra (aka We are in the Future) Sun Ra and his Arkestra Savoy Records
1961 Bad and Beautiful Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1962 Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra El Saturn
1962 Secrets of the Sun Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra El Saturn
1962 What's New? Sun Ra El Saturn
1963 When Sun Comes Out Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1963 Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1963 When Angels Speak of Love Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra El Saturn
1964 Other Planes of There Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra El Saturn
1965 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra ESP-Disk
1965 The Magic City Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra El Saturn
1965 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume Two Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra ESP-Disk
1966 Strange Strings Sun Ra and his Astro- Infinty Arkestra El Saturn
1966 Monorails and Satellites, Vol 1 & Vol 2 Sun Ra El Saturn
1968 Continuation Sun Ra and his Astro-Infinity Arkestra El Saturn
1967-69 Atlantis Sun Ra and his Astro-Infinity Arkestra El Saturn
1961-70 Out There A Minute Sun Ra and his Arkestra Blast First
1962-70 The Invisible Shield (aka Janus, A Tonal View of Times Tomorrow, Vol. 2, Satellites are Outerspace) Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Research Arkestra
1970 My Brother the Wind Sun Ra and his Astro-Solar Infinity Arkestra El Saturn
1970[6] The Night of the Purple Moon Sun Ra El Saturn
1970 My Brother the Wind Volume II (Otherness) Sun Ra and his Solar Myth Arkestra El Saturn
1971[7][8] Solar Myth Approach Vols 1+2 BYG Actuel
1972 Astro Black Sun Ra Impulse!
1972 Discipline 27 Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra El Saturn
1972 Space is the Place Sun Ra Blue Thumb Records
1972 Space Is the Place (soundtrack) Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra
1972 Crystal Spears Sun Ra
1972 Cymbals Sun Ra
1953-73 Deep Purple Sun Ra and his Arkestra featuring Stuff Smith on violin El Saturn
1973 Outer Space Employment Agency Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Arkestra
1973 Pathways to Unknown Worlds Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra Impulse!
1973 Friendly Love Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra Evidence Music, Inc.
1976 Cosmos Sun Ra Cobra
1977 Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue Sun Ra El Saturn
1977 Solo Piano Volume 1 Sun Ra Improvising Artists
1978 New Steps Sun Ra Quartet Horo
1978 Other Voices, Other Blues Sun Ra Quartet Horo
1978 Visions Sun Ra and Walt Dickerson SteepleChase Records
1978 Lanquidity Sun Ra Philly Jazz
1978 Disco 3000 Sun Ra and his Arkestra El Saturn
1979 Of Mythic Worlds Sun Ra Philly Jazz[9]
1979 Omniverse Sun Ra El Saturn[10]
1979 On Jupiter Sun Ra and his Arkestra El Saturn
1979 Strange Celestial Road Sun Ra Arkestra Rounder Records
1979 I, Pharaoh Sun Ra and his Arkestra
1979 Sleeping Beauty Sun Ra and his Arkestra El Saturn
1979 The Other Side of the Sun Sun Ra and His Arkestra Sweet Earth Records
1979 God Is More than Love Can Ever Be Sun Ra and his Arkestra Saturn 72579
1980 Aurora Borealis Sun Ra El Saturn 10480
1982 A Fireside Chat with Lucifer Sun Ra and his Outer Space Arkestra Saturn Research B1984SG-9
1982 Celestial Love Sun Ra and his Outer Space Arkestra El Saturn 19842
1982 Nuclear War Sun Ra Arkestra Y Records
1986 Reflections in Blue Sun Ra Arkestra Black Saint
1986 Hours After Sun Ra Arkestra Black Saint
1988-89 Somewhere Else Sun Ra Rounder
1989 Blue Delight Sun Ra A&M Records
1990 Purple Night Sun Ra A&M Records
1990 Mayan Temples Sun Ra Arkestra Black Saint
1993 Pleiades Sun Ra and his Arkestra Leo Records

Live[edit]

Recorded Album Notes Original Label(s)
1960 Music from Tomorrow's World: Chicago 1960 Sun Ra and His Arkestra Atavistic
1964 Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold ESP-Disk
1966 Nothing Is Sun Ra ESP-Disk
1966-68 Outer Spaceways Incorporated Sun Ra and his Arkestra Black Lion Records
1968 Pictures Of Infinity Sun Ra Black Lion
1970 It's After the End of the World Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Research Arkestra MPS Records
1970 Historical Masters - Fondation Maeght Nights, Volume 1 Sun Ra Arkestra JazzView / FONAC
1970 Historical Masters - Fondation Maeght Nights, Volume 2 Sun Ra Arkestra JazzView / FONAC
1971 Nidhamu Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra
1971 Live in Egypt 1 Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra
1971 Horizon Sun Ra and his Arkestra
1971 The Paris Tapes - Live at Le Theatre Du Chatlet 1971 Sun Ra and his Mythic Science Arkestra
1973 What Planet Is This? Sun Ra and His Space Arkestra Leo
1973 Concert for the Comet Kohoutek Sun Ra ESP-Disk
1973 Live in Paris at the "Gibus"
1974 Out Beyond the Kingdom Of Sun Ra and His Outer Space Arkestra
1974 The Antique Blacks Sun Ra and his Arkestra Saturn
1976 Live at Montreux Inner City Records
1976 A Quiet Place in the Universe Leo
1977 St. Louis Blues (solo piano) Sun Ra Improvising Artists
1977 Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue Sun Ra and his Arkestra Saturn
1977 Solo Piano Recital Teatro La Fenice Leo
1977 Unity Horo
1978 Springtime in Chicago Leo
1978 The Sound Mirror
1979[11] Live from Soundscape Sun Ra and his Arkestra DIW Records
1980 Sunrise in Different Dimensions the Sun Ra Arkestra Hathut Records
1980 The Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency Limited issue of 500 copies, 28CD Box Set Transparency
1981 Beyond the Purple Star Zone Sun Ra And His Omniverse Jet-Set Arkestra El Saturn 123180
1982 Oblique Parallax primarily Sun Ra on keyboard El Saturn SR72881
1983 Sun Ra Meets Salah Ragab (Recorded in Egypt) Leo
1983 Love in Outer Space Leo
1984 Cosmo Sun Connection Sun Ra and his Arkestra
1984 Live at Praxis '84 Leo
1985 Live at Club Lingerie Transparency
1985 Live at Myron's Ballroom Transparency
1986 A Night in East Berlin Sun Ra and his Cosmo Discipline Arkestra Leo
1987 John Cage Meets Sun Ra Sun Ra And John Cage Meltdown
1988[12] Cosmo Omnibus Imagiable Illusion Sun Ra Arkestra DIW
1989 Second Star to the Right (Salute to Walt Disney) Sun Ra & his Intergalactic Arkestra Leo
1989 Stardust from Tomorrow Leo
1990 Live in London 1990 Sun Ra and His Year 2000 Myth Science Arkestra Blast First
1990 Live at the Hackney Empire Leo
1991 At the Village Vanguard Sun Ra Sextet Rounder
1991 Friendly Galaxy Sun Ra Arkestra Leo
1992 Destination Unknown Sun Ra & his Omniverse Arkestra Enja Records

Compilations[edit]

Released Album Credited artist Original Label(s)
2000 Greatest Hits: Easy Listening For Intergalactic Travel Sun Ra And His Arkestra
2001 Out in Space Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Research Arkestra
2007 The Creator of the Universe (Lost Reel: Volume 1) Transparency
2007 Intergalactic Research (Lost Reel: Volume 2) Transparency
2007 The Shadows Took Shape (Lost Reel: Volume 3) Transparency
2007 Dance of the Living Image (Lost Reel: Volume 4) Transparency
2009 Interplanetary Melodies Norton Records
2009 The Second Stop Is Jupiter Norton Records
2009 Rocket Ship Rock Norton Records

Related[edit]

Recorded Album Credited artist Original Label(s)
1954-60 Spaceship Lullaby: Chicago 1954-60 Sun Ra/the Vocal Groups featuring Nu Sounds, the Unitels & the Cosmic Rays Atavistic
1966 Impressions of a Patch of Blue Walt Dickerson Quartet with Sun Ra on harpsichord MGM
1966 Batman and Robin - The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale Uncredited, but featuring Sun Ra & members of the Arkestra and the Blues Project Tifton
1968 A Black Mass Imamu Amiri Baraka with Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra Jihad Productions[13]
1988 Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films Sun Ra
1992 A Tribute to Stuff Smith Billy Bang with Sun Ra, John Ore and Andrew Cyrille Soul Note
2013 ARTPOP Writing credit with Lady Gaga for the song "Venus" Interscope

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sun Ra discography at Allmusic
  2. ^ Campbell, Robert L., & Trent, Christopher. The Earthly Recordings of Run Ra (2nd edition). Redwood, NY: Cadence Jazz Books, 2000. ISBN 978-1-881993-35-3
  3. ^ Szwed, John F. Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra New York: Pantheon, 1997. ISBN 978-0-679-43589-1; p. xvii
  4. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Jazz In Silhouette review from Allmusic.com; URL accessed February 15, 2007
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006) [1992]. "Sun Ra". The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th. ed.). New York: Penguin. p. 1245. ISBN 0-14-102327-9.
  6. ^ www.allaboutjazz.com
  7. ^ Allmusic review Volume 1
  8. ^ Allmusic review Volume 2
  9. ^ Allmusic review
  10. ^ www.discogs.com
  11. ^ Allmusic Live from Soundscape review
  12. ^ Allmusic Live at Pitt-In, Tokyo review
  13. ^ http://www.discogs.com/LeRoi-Jones-Sun-Ra-Myth-Science-Arkestra-A-Black-Mass/release/1961188

External links[edit]