Sun Ra - Nuits de la Foundation Maeght Vol.1 (Vinyl)









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Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol. 1 (1970) is the first of two releases capturing Sun Ra and the Arkestra at Saint Paul de Vence, Côte d'Azur, France, in August of 1970, on what was their first European excursion. As a rule, free and avant-garde jazz are a decidedly acquired taste. However, for discerning palettes, these installments present the aggregate at their absolute pinnacle in terms of performance and inspiration. The four works included here offer a wide variety of styles and approaches, proving that the combo were far more multifaceted and involved than often given credit for. Enlightenment is a suitable opener, featuring a vocal duet between June Tyson (vocals) and John Gilmore (tenor sax/drums/vocals). This ambles subtly into another brief lyric on The Star Gazers, followed by an inventive and elaborate piano solo from Ra. The bandleader is clearly enthused throughout, translating in what is perceived as even quicker and more potent inflections. These continue during a full-ensemble reading of Shadow World, which is given a worthy workout. The flurry and fury in Marshall Allen's alto sax are countered with more of Ra's highly intricate assertions. One of the most inspired keyboard performances from Ra is the appropriately titled Cosmic Explorer. There are moments that vacillate from terrifying to sublime as the artist methodically investigates the sounds, carefully constructing his progressive arrangements. Much like the Arkestra presentation, Ra's solos are complex, more than making up for any lack of structure with a motivated performance.

Live document of the Arkestra's European debut was recorded in France in June, 1970. Things start out with a nice vocal version of Enlightenment sung by Ra and June Tyson, then head outside. The Star Gazers is a short feature for Ra's keyboards, and

Vinyl reissue by Universe Record
sealed !