WKCR festival item

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#1 Mon, 1994-11-28 16:22
Chris Trent
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WKCR festival item

I recently got around to listening carefully to a tape from WKCR's Sun Ra festival from 1987: I find that I should have done so before now. One section is worth listing here as it's one of those items which nobody managed to document completely in time for inclusion in Robert Campbell's book "The Earthly Recordings Of Sun Ra". It is, IMHO, of considerable interest. There are one or two surprises on it: well worth hearing. It's something of which quite a few people should have copes: it was broadcast twice. The dub I've heard was from the second time around, during WKCR's 1993 Sun Ra memorial.

The tape is an anthology, apparently put together by Sun Ra and brought to the studio by him that day. Two sections found their way into Robert's book: the opening "Manhattan Undertones" and the piece "You Thought You Could Build A World Without Us". The other pieces, I think, did not.

I don't yet know how long this section of the broadcast originally lasted - the listing below covers about 50 minutes' music and is faded out. Maybe somebody can complete the listing if they have more? It is always possible, too, that there are edits in the dub I've heard.

One particular request: please can somebody else with a copy of this broadcast listen to "Omniverse"? The which dub I have has some peculiar electronic noises superimposed at one or two points but I'm not convinced they were added by Sun Ra (and they aren't on the LP Saturn 91379), I wonder if they are instead maybe extraneous noise from a fast-forwarding tape in the studio with a fader left open, or RF interference.

Chris Trent

Sun Ra Memorial broadcast, WKCR, 1993 presented by Charles Blass

following on from Phil Schaap's long interview with Sun Ra:

Manhattan Undertones (Ra) ("part of 9 volume set", Ra kbds) - about 6 min Omniverse (Ra) from Saturn 91379 (some occasional electronic noises can be heard, it's not clear whether these have been added to the music or are just a studio problem or radio interference. Whatever the case, this is the same performance as Saturn 91379, and derived from a pressing, not a tape - disc surface noise can be heard) [audible break] unknown title (org, theme w. Gilmore over Arkestra ensemble, applause, possibly mid-late 1970s, about 4 minutes) unknown title (improvisations - kbds, tp, ens, b solo, then b/kbds duet; personnel probably includes Ra (kbds), prob Kwami Hadi (tp), Ronnie Boykins (b), Marshall Allen, Danny Davis (as), John Gilmore (ts), unknown (perc), 1972-3, keyboards similar to Impulse 9255 or 9298 or Blue Thumb BTS41 - about 4 minutes) [audible break] Embraceable You (Gershwin) (Ra org, fine Gilmore ts, rhythm section, Arkestra present but only audible at end. Live performance circa 1977, based on various ts, kbds, ensemble stylistic details) [audible break] the next three tracks have very muddy sound and incredible tape hiss - they appear to be rehearsal tapes from the 1950s! (?) Black Sky And Blue Moon - (doowop quartet plus Arkestra, including Marshall Allen (f), as, ts, tp, Sun Ra (ep), Ronnie Boykins (b), Robert Barry (dr), Jim Herndon (tymp), rhythm section work comparable to material on Nubians Of Plutonia, about two minutes) [audible break] Holiday For Strings (Rose-Gallo) (doowop group, Sun Ra (ep), clapping, less than 2 minutes), rehearsal conversation, several abortive starts, then a recognisible Honeysuckle Rose (Waller-Razaf) (doowop group, Sun Ra (ep), poss (b) too, about three minutes) [audible break] Media Dream (Ra) from Saturn 1978C/D, segueing into: You Thought You Could Build A World Without Us (Ra) (Sun Ra (recit, kbds), Robert's book has this as session #230. It turns out be a continuation of Media Dream, from Italy 1978. It was clearly a master tape of Media Dream rather than the Saturn LP which was being broadcast here.) (start of Third Planet, from Saturn CMIJ78, quickly faded) [end of tape]