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Record Store Day 2024 will bring an out-of-this-world bonanza to lovers of intergalactic jazz man Sun Ra, as Zev Feldman’s Jazz Detective label launches Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago, previously unissued recordings by the bandleader-composer-keyboardist-Afrofuturist’s Arkestra, as a limited edition 180-gram two-LP collection, due April 20.


The set — featuring storming performances captured in 1976 and 1977 at the Jazz Showcase, Joe Segal’s venerable, venerated club at 901 Rush Street in the Windy City’s “Gold Coast” entertainment district — will also be released as a two-CD package on April 26.


Co-produced with Sun Ra archivist Michael D. Anderson, the Showcase album comprises high-energy, freewheeling performances by the 19-piece Arkestra that feature many of the band’s most notable soloists, including tenor player John Gilmore, alto/flute player Danny Davis, baritone saxophonist Danny Thompson, vocalist June Tyson, and, of course, altoist/flautist Marshall Allen, who today leads the group at the age of 99. The ’77 engagement resulted in two LPs released that same year on Sun Ra’s Saturn label, The Soul Vibrations of Man and Taking a Chance on Chances.


The richly annotated Sun Ra at the Showcase includes an in-depth essay by Chicago-based writer, musician, and label/gallery operator John Corbett; previously unseen photographs shot at the Jazz Showcase by Hal Rammel; and insightful interviews with Marshall Allen, Sun Ra collaborators Reggie Workman and Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist David Murray, pianists Matthew Shipp, Dave Burrell, Michael Weiss, and Amina Claudine Myers, and guitarist and Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore.


Feldman, the award-winning “Jazz Detective,” says of this new archival release, “It is an enormous pleasure to bring to you my first collaboration with the Sun Ra estate celebrating the long-lasting legacy of the great Sun Ra. I’ve been listening to Ra's music for decades and find enormous inspiration and creativity in it. The road to this release began in 2022 when I reached out to my longtime friend Garrett Shelton, who had previously worked with Irwin Chusid of the Sun Ra estate and archivist Michael D. Anderson on a Sun Ra project. For a number of months, Michael and I worked together to find a meaningful recording that we could pair up on to release together. These recordings are an extraordinary find.”


Anderson adds, “I’ve been producing records over the last 20 years, and people in the Sun Ra community know who I am. This one, in particular, is a project I feel proud of because it gives us a chance to go into a concert. You're sitting there, it's not like the clapping is faded out or this or that. Here's something new.”


Corbett’s introduction places the ‘70s dates in the context of the music’s Windy City origins: “Sun Ra had a storied history with Chicago. Chicago was, without hyperbole, the place where Ra was conceived.  Herman Poole Blount was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1914, but Sun Ra came into existence in Chicago in the 1950s. In a city teeming with great musical talent and suitable venues for almost any venture, Ra had ample opportunities to hone his craft as an arranger and composer, to test his skills as a bandleader, to further his esoteric readings, to develop his unique performance persona, and to write a whole songbook’s worth of original (in every sense) material. At the same time, he was free to experiment broadly and intensely. Chicago was where Ra imagined, assembled, and incubated his Arkestra.”


Photographer Rammel, who witnessed the Jazz Showcase performances up close, recalls, “The mystery of how this richly orchestrated Arkestral music — its suite of songs, solos, clearly defined passages composed or improvised — unfolded was continually fascinating….Watching musicians listen to each other so intensely and react so effortlessly made traveling the space ways with there Arkestra an absolutely unique experience in all my years as a fellow traveler.”


Marshall Allen, whose involvement with Ra’s music has encompassed 65 uninterrupted years, says, “Sun Ra was a genius. He had the music inside his mind and his own way of playing it, of attacking every note. He was also a good teacher and wrote beautiful music. So being in his band was like a dream. Once there, I found a place to stay. He wasnt just a musician. He was above all an innovator who could imagine the future.”


Some of the jazz greats who played with Ra or witnessed him in live orbit speak with awe about him.

Bassist Workman says, “Its really hard to find words big enough to explain who Sun Ra was, because we are speaking about a very unique character, a learned man, and a very unusual mind….I had the chance to play with Sun Ra a couple of times. Either it was a session or it was some rehearsal or something like that. I was always very busy in those years, but tried to make time to see him, because being in his company was an important thing. It was quite an experience for me.”


Drummer DeJohnette says, “Playing with Sun Ra was challenging. He never laid down any rules about how one should play. He'd just write the music and leave everybody else to use their own creative imagination, to interpret the music.”


Speaking of his first exposure to Ra’s music at a 1973 date in Berkeley, saxophonist Murray remembers, “The band must've finished the gig at about 12:30 a.m. and we sat there talking to Sun Ra until about 3 in the morning. He spoke about many, many things. He was so mystical, and we were mesmerized. I hardly got a word in. I just couldn't believe this man could go on from one topic to another and connect all of them to mystical things, to the universe, to God. I had never heard anybody speak like that before. I love Sun Ra. I love his music and what he did.”

Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago 1976-1977

SKU: 8435395504154
Shipping 4/22/2023
  • More inf

    Recorded live at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in Chicago, IL on February 21, 1976 and November 4th & 10, 1977

    CD 1

    Recorded on November 4 & 10, 1977

    1. New Beginning [3:00]
    2. View From Another Dimension [9:50]
    3. Visitor’s Approach [8:30]
    4. Ankhnaton [5:48]
    5. Rose Room [6:32]
    6. Moonship Journey [10:19]
    7. Velvet [8:16]

    CD 2

    Recorded on February 21, 1976

    1. Calling Planet Earth & The Shadow World [17:39]
    2. Theme Of The Stargazers [3:00]
    3. Space Is The Place [7:09]
    4. Applause [1:45]
    5. Ebah Speaks In Cosmic Tongue [3:24]
    6. Greetings From the 21st Century [2:17]
    7. Joe Segal announcements [1:09]

    All titles composed by Sun Ra © Enterplanetary Kocepts (BMI)

    Except “Rose Room” by Williams-Hickman, arr. Sun Ra



    Sun Ra – Piano and Electric Keyboards

    John Gilmore - Tenor

    Marshall Allen - Alto, Flute, Kora

    Danny Davis - Alto, Flute

    Elo Omoe - Alt, Bass Clarinet

    Danny Thompson - Baritone, Flute

    Michael Ray - Trumpet

    Ahmed Abdullah - Trumpet

    Emmett McDonald - Trumpet

    Vincent Chancey - French Horn

    Dale Williams - Guitar

    Richard William - Bass

    Luqman Ali - Drums

    Eddie Thomas - Drums, Vocal

    James Jacson - Ancient Ihnfinity Drum, Oboe

    Atakatune - Congas

    June Tyson - Vocals

    Cheryl Banks-Smith - Vocals

    Wister (Judith Holton) - Vocals




    Produced for release by Zev Feldman

    Co-Produced by Michael Anderson

    Project Coordinator: Irwin Chusid

    Executive Producers: Jordi Soley and Carlos Agustin Calembert

    Associate Producers: James Batsford and Zak Shelby-Szyszko


    Audio Preparation by Joe Lizzi

    Transfer and Preparation by Michael D. Anderson

    LP mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio

    Front Cover Photo by © Jan Person / CTSIMAGES

    Back Cover Photo by © Tom Copi


    Issued under exclusive license from Sun Ra LLC

  • Catalog Number


  • Format

    Deluxe 2-CD Package

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