Holiday for Soul Dance

by Sun Ra & His Astro Infinity Arkestra

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Day By Day 03:36
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Early Autumn 04:45
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about

Holiday For Soul Dance is as close to the jazz mainstream as any Sun Ra album. A rarity in that it contains no original compositions by the leader, Holiday offers seven Tin Pan Alley standards (two by Gershwin), as well as a new work ("Dorothy's Dance") by Arkestra trumpeter Phil Cohran.

Compiled from recordings made in Chicago around July 1960, it was released on Saturn a decade later. The album title, in fact, was configured from words plucked from the track listing. The release was one of five to include songs captured in a marathon 1960 recording session at RCA Studios (and/or possibly Hall Recording) before Sunny's departure for New York. Like most of these delayed releases, Holiday for Soul Dance was less a planned album than a collection of songs that fit thematically.

The LP back cover lists 14 musicians, but in fact the personnel appears to consist of a tight septet of Arkestra mainstays, minus the larger rotating musical family. The song choices reflect a nightclub set, and affirm Sunny's enduring fondness for traditional bandstand repertoire. The Arkestra interprets these standards with respect and dignity, offering few hints of the pan-galactic notions swirling in the bandleader's mind at the time. Yet the arrangements—particularly on the uncharacteristically stringless "Holiday for Strings"—display Sun Ra's typically masterful craftsmanship. To the discerning ear, idiosyncrasies abound, yet Sunny refuses to sacrifice accessibility. Solos by the band's brass and reeds are tasteful and restrained, but charged with emotion as the compositions require. "I Loves You Porgy" and "Body and Soul" demonstrate Sun Ra's tender way with ballads, while the rest of the tunes swing—the juxtaposition of styles providing the "soul" and "dance" respectively. He even manages to namedrop himself in the final track.

"Early Autumn" features the robust baritone vocals of Ricky Murray, who later made an encore cameo on The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra (Savoy, 1961), singing the standard "China Gate."

– I.C.

credits

released April 8, 2014

2014, Enterplanetary Koncepts
All tracks produced by Sun Ra
Recorded at RCA Studios or Hall Recording, Chicago, July 1960

PERSONNEL:
Sun Ra: piano, bells
John Gilmore: tenor sax
Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute
Phil Cohran: trumpet
Nate Pryor: trombone
Ronnie Boykins: bass
Jon Hardy: drums
Ricky Murray: vocal on "Early Autumn"

Composer credits:
"But Not For Me" (George & Ira Gershwin)
"Day By Day" (Weston-Cahn-Stordahl)
"Holiday for Strings" (David Rose)
"Dorothy's Dance" (Phil Cohran)
"Early Autumn" (Herman-Mercer-Burns)
"I Loves You Porgy" (George Gershwin-Ira Gershwin-Heyward DuBose)
"Body and Soul" (Heyman-Green-Sour)
"Keep Your Sunny Side Up" (Brown-DeSylva-Henderson)

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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