This CD reunites two of Sun Ra and His Arkestra's consecutive 1958 LPs in their entirety: Jazz In Silhouette and Sound Sun Pleasure. Two bonus tracks from the same period have been added.
01. NLlGHTENMENT (5:04)
02. SATURN (3:39)
03. VELVET (3:21)
04. ANCIENT AIETHOPIA (9:06)
05. HOURS AFTER (3:44)
06. HOROSCOPE (3:46)
07. IMAGES (3:51)
08. BLUES AT MIDNIQHT (11:59)
09. 'ROUND MIDNIGHT (3:53)
10. YOU NEVER TOLO ME THAT YOU CARE (5:36)
11. HOUR OF PARTING (4:51)
12. BACK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD (2:05)
13. I COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT (3:11)
14. GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (5:29) (*) Bonus Track
15. PLANETEARTH (4:51) (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 74:26 min.
Tracks #1-8 from "Jazz in Silhouette" (Saturn LP 205). Personnel: Hobart Dotson (tp), Bo Bailey (tb), Marshall Allen, James Spaulding (as, fl), John Gilmore (ts), Charles Davis (bs), Pat Patrick (bs, fl), Sun Ra (p, cel), Ronnie Boykins (b) and William 'Bugs' Cochran (d). Recorded in Chicago, late 1958.
Tracks #9-13 from "Sound Sun Pleasure!" (Saturn SR 512). Personnel: Sun Ra Astro Infinity Arkestra, featuring Sun Ra (comp, ldr, el-p), Hobart Dotson (tp), Hatty Randolph (vcl), others unknown. Recorded in Chicago, between 1958-1960.
-Jazz in Silhouette
"Throughout their mid-to-late-'50s stay in Chicago, Sun Ra and his Arkestra established themselves as formidable purveyors of a new strain or sub-genre of jazz. Having evolved from elaborate reworkings of familiar standards, Jazz in Silhouette (1959) presents a collection of originals, building upon Ra's abilities as a consummate multi-tasker -- writing, arranging, scoring parts for his band, in addition to performing. He stretches the boundaries of the music to suit the Arkestra, simultaneously progressing his distinct sound. Seminal readings of the quick and complex "Saturn" and "Velvet" are offered with unmatchable dexterity and precision. The latter title comes off like a confused version of "Jeepers Creepers" as Hobart Dotson (trumpet) prominently displays his unquestionable tonality. "Ancient Aiethopia" is one of the more involved works, both in terms of length - running over nine minutes - and the Arkestra's capacity for Ra's compositions. "Blues at Midnight" is another expansive (nearly 12 minutes) outing that, by contrast, is for the soloists rather than full ensemble. John Gilmore (tenor sax), Ronnie Boykins (bass), Pat Patrick (baritone sax), and Marshall Allen (alto sax) all shine behind William Cochran's (drums) solid contributions. Equally significant is the running dialogue Ra maintains during other musicians' leads, directing the ebb and flow with an uncanny fusion of melody and rhythm. Undoubtedly, this is a factor in the freshness the material retains. It is also a prime example of Ra and company in a transitional phase, prior to their full-fledged explorations into the avant-garde."
-Sound Sun Pleasure
"The first half-dozen cuts on Sound Sun Pleasure (1970) are thought to have been documented between 1958 and 1960, during Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra's residency in Chicago. Although Ra's arrangements are as intricate and involved as any from the era, the song list draws heavily upon standards. That said, it might be recommended as a starting point for parties not acclimated to the artist's later and exceedingly aggressive free and avant-garde leanings. Hatty Randolph (vocals) joins the combo for a pair of refined vocals on the covers of "'Round Midnight" and "Back in Your Own Backyard." The Arkestra complement Randolph's full-bodied delivery with such finesse, it is a wonder there isn't evidence of more frequent collaborations like this. She adds a bluesy melancholia that nicely offsets the instrumentation. "You Never Told Me That You Care" - co-written by Ra and Hobart Dotson (trumpet) - stunningly demonstrates Ra's unmatched scoring and superlative sense of melody. The sweeping and languid tempo allows the tune to unravel organically."
Both reviews by Lindsay Planer -All Music Guide