The Magic City

The Magic City

by Sun Ra & His Solar ArkestraSun Ra & His Solar Arkestra


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The boundaries of Sun Ra's self-proclaimed "space jazz" underwent a transformation in the mid-'60s. The Magic City is an aural snapshot of that metamorphic process. Many enthusiasts and scholars consider this to be among Ra's most definitive studio recordings. Although the "city" in the album's title was thought to have been New York -- where the disc was recorded -- it is actually Ra's earthly birthplace of Birmingham, Alabama. The Magic City consists of four free jazz compositions: the album side-length title track, "The Shadow World," "Abstract Eye," and "Abstract I" -- two variants of a common work. These pieces are essentially ensemble improvisations recorded live. Any direction from Ra, indicating the order of soloists for instance, would be given either through his playing or with hand signals. The title track begins with weaving distant and frenetic lines from Ronnie Boykins (bass) and Ra (piano, clavoline), connected by intermittent eruptions from Roger Blank (drums). All the while, Marshall Allen's dreamlike piccolo randomly maneuvers through the sonic haze. The piece also contains an ensemble onslaught that abruptly contrasts with everything experienced up through that point. In the wake of the innately earthbound "Magic City" are three comparatively shorter pieces with subtle undercurrents that return Ra to space motifs. For example, the importance of sonic contrast defines "The Shadow World" by juxtaposing the lightly churning bass and cymbal into some surreal keyboard interjections from Ra. [The 2017 stereo LP/CD/digital version on Cosmic Myth Records is the first fully authorized edition since Sun Ra's departure. Issued under license from Sun Ra LLC, the heirs of the artist, the album was remastered by Ben Young and Joe Lizzi using best-available sources from Michael D. Anderson's Sun Ra Music Archive. Anderson and Irwin Chusid co-produced. The CMR version includes a bonus track, "Other Worlds," an alternate version of "The Shadow World," and the LP and CD feature extensive annotation by Young, Chusid, and Ra scholar Christopher Trent. Sound quality and clarity surpass all previous editions in all formats.]

Product Details

Release Date: 07/14/2017
Label: Cosmic Myth Records
UPC: 0881626506523
catalogNumber: 650652
Rank: 32868

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