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Janus
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Sun Ra (piano, organ, Clavinet, Clavioline, Mini-Moog synthesizer, gong); Art Jenkins (vocals, percussion); Marshall Allen (alto saxophone, flute, piccolo, percussion); Danny Davis (alto saxophone, alto clarinet, percussion); John Gilmore (tenor saxophone, percussion, bells); Pat Patrick (baritone saxophone, bongos, percussion); Bernard Pettaway (trombone); Robert Northern (French horn); James Jacson (flute, log drum); Robert Cummings (bass clarinet, percussion); Danny Ray Thompson (bassoon); Ronnie Boykins (bass); Clifford Jarvis (drums); Tommy Hunter (percussion).
  • Recorded between 1963 and 1970. Includes liner notes by Robert Campbell.
  • All tracks have been digitally remastered using 24-Bit technology.
  • This compilation of rare material from the Sun Ra Arkestra draws from tapes recorded between 1963 and 1970, and the space-age jazz shaman conjures up a variety of styles and moods along the way. A balmy tropical vibe greets the ears with the opener ("Island in the Sun"), but it doesn't take long for Ra to set his controls for the stratosphere, and soon, distorted gongs, haunted house organ, and homemade instruments are exploring African mysticism on the title track. "Velvet" is a more traditional hard bop cut, but some gleefully manic saxophone and French horn work lends a cartoonish anarchy to the tune. Chaos is certainly the form for the finale, "Joy," as Ra directs his boys to get free, and the musicians coast through gale wind discord into a calm, disturbing breeze. It all winds down to a lonely drummer whose solo (and the album) meets an abrupt end mid-lick. Taken from both live and studio performances, the tracks may once have been intended as a complete album, but they haven't been available previously except scattered between a few rare Saturn sides. Janus is hardly essential for anyone still combing through Ra's voluminous catalog of unique releases, but the hardcore contingent won't be disappointed. ~ Fred Beldin
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