Jazz in Silhouette

Jazz in Silhouette

by Sun Ra & His ArkestraSun Ra & His Arkestra


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Throughout their mid-to-late-'50s stay in Chicago, Sun Ra (piano) 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.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/06/1992
Label: Evidence
UPC: 0730182201222
catalogNumber: 22012
Rank: 65398


  1. Enlightenment
  2. Saturn
  3. Velvet
  4. Ancient Aiethopia
  5. Hours After
  6. Horoscope
  7. Images
  8. Blues at Midnight

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sun Ra & His Arkestra   Primary Artist
John Gilmore   Tenor Saxophone
Julian Priester   Trombone
James Spaulding   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Charles Davis   Baritone Saxophone
Marshall Allen   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Ronnie Boykins   Bass
William "Bugs" Cochran   Drums
Hobart Dotson   Trumpet
Pat Patrick   Flute,Baritone Saxophone
Sun Ra   Piano
Sun Ra Arkestra   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Alton Abraham   Producer
Jerry Gordon   Producer,Reissue Producer
Francis Davis   Liner Notes
Judith Salavetz   Art Direction
Spencer Drate   Art Direction

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