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Sun Ra Alumni Gather for New Recording

Marshall Allen, engineer Richard Alderson and others cut new music

Marshall Allen and Richard Alderson

A new recording made “in the spirit” of Sun Ra’s ESP-Disk’ albumThe Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra was made April 20-50 years to the day after the original-featuring original participant Marshall Allen (now 91) and the original engineer, Richard L. Alderson. Danny Thompson, a longtime member of Ra’s Arkestra, also participated in the session

According to a press release, “Making it all even more remarkable was the presence of the original bass marimba that Sun Ra played on Heliocentric Worlds-the very same instrument-which is in the possession of ScienSonic laboratories, and resides in its New Jersey facility. This made for a truly historic three-way reunion between Allen, Alderson and the original instrument that figured so prominently on the 1965 LP.”

The release adds: “In what may be another historic first, Marshall Allen played ScienSonic’s Steinway grand piano on the new recording, in addition to his customary alto sax and EVI. He also performed on the bass marimba (as did tenor saxophonist and mastermind of the project, Scott Robinson) and did some directing. Danny Thompson played baritone sax and flute.”

The rest of the original instrumentation was duplicated exactly, with New York musicians including Frank Lacy, Philip Harper, Pat O’Leary, Yosvany Terry, Tim Newman, Matt Wilson and JD Parran.

The music performed, the press release stresses, was not a re-creation of the original, but rather utilized the same instrumentation and sounds.

The first volume from the sessions will be released on both CD and vinyl LP formats on Nov. 16.

Originally Published