Angels & Demons at Play

by Sun Ra & His Myth Science Arkestra

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Urnack 03:47
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about

Angels And Demons At Play was compiled from two different sessions, recorded four years apart (1956 and 1960), that reflect Sun Ra's evolution from hard Chicago bop towards exotic styles that transcended easy categorization. The album was released in 1965 with a distinctive sleeve design by Sun Ra, featuring an identical illustration on both sides, and no sleeve notes. Besides the leader, there's overlapping personnel at the two sessions, yet the two LP sides were somewhat incongruous, demonstrating how much the Arkestra had evolved in four years.

Side A (tracks 1–4) consists of four performances from the marathon 1960 Chicago recording session that produced dozens of tracks released over the subsequent decade on a series of Saturn releases. Two idiosyncratic works, "Tiny Pyramids" and the title track (the latter featuring a flute solo by Marshall Allen), were composed by bassist Ronnie Boykins. "Between Two Worlds," a Sun Ra original, is a short, springy cha-cha. The colorfully abstract "Music From The World Tomorrow," featuring Sun Ra on Cosmic Tone Organ and Phil Cohran on "violin-uke," is the album's revelation — a short "sound experiment" rather than a composition, hinting more than any work on the collection Sunny's future direction.

The B-side of the album (tracks 5–8) goes back to the 1956 first Arkestra sessions, featuring Sunny's emerging "Hard Space Bop." The work is solid, and representative of the foundational years of the Sun Ra legacy. Three of the tracks had been released as singles by Saturn.

The respective sides document two early periods of Sun Ra's musical trajectory. But by the time the album was released in 1965, neither side accurately reflected what Sun Ra was offering fans on the concert stage or on new album releases, much less where his music would head as the decade continued to unfold. Compare Angels and Demons to the albums Strange Strings (recorded 1965) and Atlantis (recorded 1967-68), which sonically and stylistically are, as Sun Ra might say, "from another planet."

– I.C.

credits

released June 12, 2016

2014, Enterplanetary Koncepts
All tracks produced by Sun Ra

All titles composed by Sun Ra © Enterplanetary Koncepts (BMI), except:
"Urnack" by Julian Priester © Second Floor Music (BMI)
"Tiny Pyramids" and "Angels and Demons at Play" by Ronnie Boykins

1 - 4 recorded at either Hall Recording Company or RCA Studios, Chicago, June 1960
5 - 8 recorded at RCA studios, Chicago, probably February 1956

PERSONNEL (1–4):
Sun Ra: piano, Cosmic Tone Organ, percussion
Phil Cohran: trumpet (1, 4), Violin-Uke (3)
Nate Pryor (1, 4) and Bo Bailey (2): trombone
John Gilmore: tenor sax (1, 2, 4), clarinet (1, 4)
Marshall Allen: alto sax (2), flute (1, 4)
Ronnie Boykins: bass
Jon Hardy: drums (1, 3, 4)
Robert Barry: drums (2)

PERSONNEL (5–8):
Sun Ra: piano, electric piano
Art Hoyle: trumpet
John Gilmore: tenor sax
Pat Patrick: baritone sax
Julian Priester: trombone
Wilburn Green: bass
Jim Herndon: tympani
Robert Barry: drums

Tape transfers by Michael D. Anderson of the Sun Ra Music Archive
Digital restoration by Michael D. Anderson and Irwin Chusid

Issued under license from Sun Ra LLC

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Sun Ra New York, New York

A Helpful Guide to the Many Sun Ra Albums on Bandcamp: daily.bandcamp.com/2017/10/13/sun-ra-album-guide
The foremost figure in musical Afro-futurism and space-jazz. Keyboardist, composer, Arkestra leader, arranger, philosopher-jester, fashion icon, cosmic guide. Born Herman Blount in Alabama, 1914, left the planet in 1993, giving Earthlings a monumental catalog of recordings that transcend genre. ... more

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