Sun Ra – Space Is the Place

Space Is the Place

Sun RaSpace Is the Place Blue Thumb BTS-41 (1973)

What Space Is the Place (not to be confused with the soundtrack to the movie of the same name) offers is a broad and eclectic overview of the multifaceted musical philosophy of Sun Ra and His Arkestra.  From here you can move into a lot of different territories of Sun Ra’s oeuvre according to what strikes your fancy.  This is one of the very best introductions to Ra’s music, even if further exploration of the catalog will likely quickly supplant it with new favorites.  The title track is one of the group’s space chants, but at an extended length that allows room to go a bit further out than usual.  “Images” is a fresh new performance of one of the band’s swinging evergreens.  It’s probably my favorite version, with a hint of smiling sourness in the horns, a hearty electric bass that stands out from the rest of the band without just playing a walk, and Ra himself clanging away at the keys in perfect rhythm.  “Sea of Sounds” is free-form noise that would appear a bit less frequently in the coming years.  “Discipline” and “Rocket Number Nine” fill out the album with more of the quintessential afro-futurist Sun Ra sound.  An excellent place to start.