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Sleeping Beauty (Expanded)

by Sun Ra & His Arkestra

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Say 12:10


A number of sessions recorded by Sun Ra from 1978 to 1980—issued on the albums Lanquidity, On Jupiter, and Sleeping Beauty—reflect the influence on Ra of commercial musical and production trends of the mid- and late-1970s, especially heavy, studio-enhanced dance floor grooves (traceable from soul and funk to disco), and atmospheric New Age "dream" pieces. But Ra neither surrendered to nor fully embraced these styles—he simply added these techniques to his toolkit, always stretching beyond the genres. The only aspect that eluded him was commercial success.

Sleeping Beauty (Saturn 79) was recorded in New York in June 1979 and released later that year. Like many Sun Ra albums from the 1970s and '80s, it was pressed in a limited (and unknown) quantity, packaged with generic (albeit often hand-decorated) sleeves, and distributed by Rounder and sold at concerts. Also like many releases of the period, it was known by a second title — Door of the Cosmos. Those alternate titles derived from two of the album's three tracks. Oddly, "Sleeping Beauty" had an alternate title — "Black Beauty," which was printed on some labels (and typed on others). Affirming that this release should be filed under "Alternative," the band was identified as "Sun Ra and His Arkestra" on most labels and as "Sun Ra Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra" on at least one extant sleeve.

Three additional tracks were recorded at the June '79 session: "Celestial Road," "Say," and "I'll Wait for You." Those tracks were licensed to Rounder Records, who issued them on the LP Strange Celestial Road (Rounder 3035) in 1982. (Note: The Rounder label and Rounder Distribution were related companies, but separate operations. Saturn LPs were distributed by Rounder, but were not released by Rounder. However, there were, in time, three Sun Ra albums issued on Rounder—Strange Celestial Road, Somewhere Else, and Sun Ra Sextet at the Village Vanguard—but none of the three had been previously issued on Saturn.)

Art Yard released an authorized edition of Sleeping Beauty on CD in 2010. (Those rights reverted to Sun Ra LLC in 2021.)

This digital edition combines all tracks from the June 1979 Variety studio session, along with two bonus tracks: an alternate of "Door of the Cosmos" recorded in Philadelphia at the club Grendel's Lair in 1978, and a live version of "Strange Celestial Road" recorded in Detroit in 1980. Both tracks were derived from tapes in Michael D. Anderson's Sun Ra Music Archive.

— I.C.


released July 19, 2021

Mixed and mastered at Variety Recording Studio, NYC, June 1979
Engineer: Mike Dacek
Mixed by Sun Ra, Michael Ray, Mike Smith

Track 7 - Recorded live at Grendel's Lair, Philadelphia, 1978
Track 8 - Recorded live in Detroit, 1980

All compositions by Sun Ra © Enterplanetary Koncepts (BMI)

Sun Ra: piano, electric piano, organ, synth, vocals
Michael Ray: trumpet, vocals
Curt Pulliam: trumpet
Walter Miller: trumpet
Craig Harris: trombone
Tony Bethel: trombone
Vincent Chancey: French horn
Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute
John Gilmore: tenor sax, percussion
James Jacson: flute, bassoon, Infinity-drum
Eloe Omoe: bass clarinet, flute, percussion
Danny Ray Thompson: baritone sax, flute, percussion
Kenny Williams: tenor and baritone sax, flute
Noël Scott: alto and baritone sax, percussion
Hutch Jones: alto and tenor sax
Sylvester Baton: various reeds
Skeeter McFarland: electric guitar
Taylor Richardson: electric guitar
Steve Clarke: electric bass
Richard Williams: bass
Harry Wilson: vibraphone
Damon Choice: vibraphone, vocals
Eddie Thomas: drums
Luqman Ali: drums
Reg McDonald: drums
Atakatune: percussion
June Tyson: vocals
Rhoda Blount: vocals

The digital album art was adapted from a hand-designed Saturn LP cover in the collection of Mats Gustafsson.

Special thanks to Peter Dennett/Art Yard Records, Michael D. Anderson/Sun Ra Music Archive, and Chris Reisman

Produced for digital release by Irwin Chusid

Issued under license from Sun Ra LLC


all rights reserved



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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