Sun Ra-Sleeping Beauty
"This is the great late-night Sun Ra chillout album you never knew about. The band had been working in a more groove-oriented setting off and on for over a year, as evidenced by the albums Lanquidity and On Jupiter, with both featuring prominent electric bass and electric guitar. Sleeping Beauty picks up right where On Jupiter left off, with the gentle, swaying "Springtime Again" echoing the same mellow vibe of "Seductive Fantasy" from On Jupiter. A skittering intro coalesces as different instruments pick up bits of the melody, which is then fully expressed by the horn section and ensemble vocals. It's a simple two-chord vamp, with beautiful solos that seem to embody the reawakening and rebirth of springtime. "The Door of the Cosmos" starts with a gospel-like chant and handclaps, with comments from Ra's electric piano and electric guitar. A strong bassline enters, very reminiscent of "A Love Supreme, Pt. 1: Acknowledgement," but the accompanying chant celebrates the mysteries of the unknown rather than the universal truth of A Love Supreme. This track builds in intensity, but never loses its groove or becomes nearly as raucous as the Arkestra is sometimes known for. "Sleeping Beauty" is the album centerpiece, taking up all of side two. Ra's beautiful electric piano gets things rolling, and the band falls into a peaceful groove before the vocals enter, led by the wonderful June Tyson. These songs are all built on the simplest of structures, and the playing from everyone is understated and sublime. Sleeping Beauty is truly a high point in an unwieldy discography, and something of an anomaly at the same time. There's a good reason copies of this album go for several hundred dollars on the collector's market, but it really deserves a proper release so more people can hear it. Outstanding." ~ Sean Westergaard via Sun Ra (synth, organ vocals) John Gilmore (tenor sax, percussion) Marshall Allen (alto sax) Danny Thompson (baritone sax, flute, percussion) Michael Ray (trumpet) Noel Scott (alto sax) June Tyson (vocals) Eloe Omoe (bass clarinet) Craig Harris (trombone) Tommy Hunter (drums) Al Evans (flugelhorn) Jarbu Shahid (bass) Samarai Celestial (drums) Vincent Chancey (french horn) Francisco Mora, Tani Tabbal (percussion): Bright Moments (congas) The Bell Brothers (bells) John Ore (bass) James Jackson (Ancient Egyptian Infinity Lightning Drum) 1. Springtime Again 2. Door of the Cosmos 3. Sleeping Beauty GO TO SPACE HERE and more words from "One of the most soulful Sun Ra albums -- very much on the Lanquidity tip, and done with a great mix of electric and acoustic instrumentation. The vibe here is really mellow, spiritual, and warm -- and the album actually feels more like a session recorded for the Strata East label than it does for Saturn! Keyboards pervade the session -- electric piano and organ drifting around in moody, laidback lines -- augmented by occasional vibes, bits of guitar, and some wonderfully well-blown sax solo work by Marshall Allen and John Gilmore! The title track "Sleeping Beauty" runs for all of side two of the album -- and it's an amazing number that mixes instrumental passages with some great mellow vocals. "Door Of The Cosmos" is a bit of a groover, that gets funky at times -- and the album also features the laidback spacey number "Springtime".