COMPOSERS: Sun Ra and His Arkestra
ALBUM TITLE: Sun Ra and His Arkestra: ‘To Those of Earth… And Other Worlds’
WORKS: To Those of Earth… And Other Worlds
PERFORMER: Sun Ra Arkestra/Sun Ra
CATALOGUE NO: STRUT125CD/LP
Purists can object to curated albums like this one, but the playlist-like compilations assembled by the likes of Snowboy and, in this and several other cases, the esteemed DJ and radio presenter Gilles Peterson, can provide invaluable introductions to and usefully condensed expositions of niche areas within jazz. Sun Ra’s music is effectively a niche in itself, albeit a huge one, so until someone assembles a complete edition – it has to happen – this two-disc set based around Peterson’s own selections from Ra’s 125-album discography (simply arriving at some sort of total is an achievement) is very nice to have.
The sound quality is understandably variable given the diverse sources of the material, but the unsanitised results are wonderful, raw draughts of Arkestral atmosphere. The three available formats – CD, LP and download – contain different packages of mixes and accompanying notes, so check on the Strut website, www.strut-records.com, for your preferred version. Roger Thomas