Sun Ra - Of Abstract Dreams

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2018-03-16
Sun Ra - Of Abstract Dreams
Sun Ra - Of Abstract Dreams
How many albums, or to be precise, how many recordings of Sun Ra’s music are there? If the late musical genius was still around and you were able to ask him, he probably wouldn’t know himself. It seems that he, along with his band, recorded something any time they weren’t eating or sleeping. After all, Sun Ra claimed he is not of this earth, so who knows how much sleep he really needed. And that recording could have been in any formation - from Sun Ra alone at some sort of a keyboard or with a band that could be anywhere from one extra person to more than fifty, in a real studio, improvised one, live in somebody’s living room (like some of his recordings made in Cairo, Egypt), or in a proper concert hall. Of course, in any shape or size.
 
So here we are with Of Abstract Dreams, another set of four numbers in a small band setting, recorded sometime between 1974 and 1975 in the studio of Philadelphia radio station WXPN FM. Is it similar to some or most of other Sun Ra recordings? Yes. Is it different than most or some of the other Sun Ra recordings? Again, yes. Is it any good? And yet again, yes!
 
You see, there are two distinct characteristics that run like a red line through all these Sun Ra recordings - complete knowledge and complete command in interpreting and re-interpreting that knowledge. Sun Ra knew absolutely everything that was connected to any music form - whether it was the complete history of jazz up to his time, classical music, or any other musical form that could reach his ears. It doesn’t matter whether it was George Gershwin (a reissue of Sun Ra’s interpretations of that composer is being issued almost simultaneously with Of Abstract Dreams), or the music from the “Batman” TV series. Or variations on those themes, like “Unmask The Batman”, the one on this album.
 
It was this knowledge and control (and based on some live performances, Sun Ra really exercised those with his band too) that enabled him to run off in any direction - from ‘simple’ solos to complex, abstract  ‘space’ freak-outs. Like any great abstract painters, say like Jackson Pollock, it was this absolute knowledge of the so-called basics that gave him the possibility to make sense of these abstract variations. That certainly includes the four presented on Of Abstract Dreams, where  “Island In The Sun” is a newer version than the one previously known, and “I’ll Wait For You” is the first studio recording of that composition. And what a great one it is!
 
That is another trait with practically all of the countless Sun Ra recordings - no matter how many there are of them, no matter how shoddy the production on some of those recordings is, the quality of Sun Ra’s music always shines. Of Abstract Dreams is no exception in that respect.

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