"In tomorrow's world, men will not need artificial instruments such as jets and space ships. In the world of tomorrow, the new man will 'think' the place he wants to go, then his mind will take him there."
— Sun Ra, Jazz in Silhouette album notes (1959)
Jazz in Silhouette is the quintessential record of Sun Ra's Chicago period during the late 1950s. Recorded in 1958 and issued in 1959, the album—Ra's third—offers a coda for the bandleader's bebop/hard-bop periods, as his interstellar traveler persona began to vividly evolve at the close of the decade. Sunny's compositions here reflect his talent for writing memorable works in the jazz idiom, even as arrangements like "Ancient Aiethopia" point to new directions in amalgamated primitive-futurism. After Ra moved to New York in 1961, he began to explore musical terrain away from jazz conventions. Yet Jazz in Silhouette is resplendent with adventure.
Many of these early works, including "Images," "Enlightment," and "Saturn," would remain staples in Arkestra set lists for the rest of Sunny's life. These recordings showcase the brilliant tenor sax stylings of John Gilmore and introduce the iconic playing of Marshall Allen and Pat Patrick; all three would remain with Ra for decades (as would bassist Ronnie Boykins). On the extended “Blues At Midnight,” each horn soloist stretches out as in a live club performance. Here, Sun Ra and the band radiate the period's Chicago jazz sound, with lilting melodies, intertwining chords, and surprising dynamic shifts.
This expanded edition, issued in vinyl, CD and digital formats, features additional material from the 1958 sessions, along with non-album bonus tracks from the period, some never-before issued, as well as rare stereo mixes. The CD and digital editions feature the full original album in the widely known monophonic mix. The eight album tracks are followed by four bonus tracks, "State Street" "Blues From Saturn," the single version of "Hours After," and another single, "Great Balls of Fire"; all are in mono.
The rest of the deluxe edition—call it Part 2—is in stereo, starting with the album Sound Sun Pleasure (which includes the stereo mix of "Enlightment," a title that appeared in mono on Jazz in Silhouette). This short collection wasn't issued on Saturn until 1970, but the works originated at the same Chicago recording sessions as Jazz in Silhouette. Two tracks feature the sultry vocal stylings of Hattie Randolph, sister of early Arkestra trumpeter Lucious Randolph. The rest of Part 2 features the premiere LP/CD release of five Jazz in Silhouette album tracks in full stereo. Every prior edition of the album had been monophonic. A stereo session tape was discovered by Michael D. Anderson of the Sun Ra Music Archive; five tracks were salvaged (although one is incomplete). The album's second stereo reel, unfortunately, cannot be located.
[NOTE: The 2-LP expanded vinyl edition does not include the full original mono album. Because of time limitations on each side, the four full stereo mixes were substituted for the mono versions; however, the track sequence has been preserved. The CD and vinyl editions also include a lengthy historical essay by Ra scholar John Corbett and additional illustrations.]
This deluxe package also features the original space nymph cover art, which only appeared in cropped and washed-out reproductions on Saturn releases. John Corbett found and preserved the original painting by an artist identified only as "Evans." The colors are more vibrant, and the expanded edition gatefold LP presents previously omitted artwork at the periphery of the untitled painting.
Finally, all formats of this expanded edition restore the track sequence of the earliest Saturn versions of Jazz in Silhouette; every subsequent reissue has reversed the original sides A and B.
released June 16, 2023
All tracks produced by Sun Ra
Recorded 1958 in Chicago
Produced for reissue by Irwin Chusid and Michael D. Anderson
Tape transfers by Michael D. Anderson/Sun Ra Music Archive, Joe Lizzi, and Ben Young
Audio restoration by I.C. and J.L.
Mastering by Joe Lizzi
Art Director: Edward ODowd
Artwork by Evans
Cover artwork restoration by Laurie ES; front cover design by Edley and I.C.
Executive Producers for Virtual Label: Peter Wright and John Allen
Sun Ra (piano, organ, celeste)
Hobart Dotson (trumpet)
Lucious Randolph (trumpet)
Bo Bailey (trombone)
Marshall Allen (alto sax, flute, percussion)
James Spaulding (alto sax, flute, percussion)
John Gilmore (tenor sax, clarinet, percussion)
Charles Davis (baritone sax, percussion)
Pat Patrick (baritone sax, alto sax, flute, percussion)
BeBop Sam Thomas (electric guitar)
Ronnie Boykins (bass)
Robert Barry (drums)
William "Bugs" Cochran (drums)
Alvin Fielder (drums)
Jim Herndon (tympani)
Hattie Randolph (vocals, tracks 13 & 16)
A Helpful Guide to the Many Sun Ra Albums on Bandcamp: daily.bandcamp.com/2017/10/13/sun-ra-album-guide
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