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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sun Ra And His Arkestra - Jazz in Silhouette (USA 1958)

An Uncle Roddus Album Review

A small diversion from  reviewing some of the recent CD arrivals, but staying with the Jazz stuff(especially what with all the Masada Stuff that has arrived(more on that later)) and staying with Sun Ra, as I have been inspired to listen to some more of his music after reviewing "Live at Montreux" recently(must do a shop on Amazon for more Ra soon) and not to mention some of the interesting rare Ra stuff on the Adventure-Equation Blog . 
"Jazz in Silhouette" is another of the records that I borrowed from the local public library about the same time as the Live album mentioned above and it made such a big impression on me that it was the first Ra CD that I purchased several years back. Probably one of my favorites of the early Arkestra's 50's Saturn big band Swing/Bop discs. The influence from Ra's time with Fletcher Henderson earlier on had a big influence on the music of these early releases and so the music on this excellent disc is a lot more conventional sounding Jazz swing than much of his later compositions.
"Enlightenment", "Saturn" and "Velvet" are all very strong and very enjoyable swing numbers with some good solos and very good melody's which make them sound like they should be Jazz Standards, although the Liner notes suggest this album was little noticed at the time. "Ancient Aiethopia" is a bit more exotic and experimental with its Egyptian sounding rhythms and was a taste of what was to come from Ra. The rest of the album continues on with some more excellent swinging numbers  to keep the toes tapping and the set closes with the wonderful  11 Minute Bop work out of "Blues At midnight"
I have always really enjoyed this set and it would easily make my all time top 20 Jazz albums and so I would rate it 5/5.

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