Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Sun Ra Music Archive Reissues 21 Albums Exclusively for iTunes

Many included previously unreleased bonus tracks

The Sun Ra Music Archive announced today-two days before the 100th anniversary of the birth of the artist-that it has reissued 21 classic Sun Ra albums digitally for iTunes. These recordings, released under the banner of Sun Ra Mastered for iTunes, are available exclusively on the service in a 24-bit format at The albums are released on the Enterplanetary Koncepts label.

According to a press release, “The Mastered for iTunes format exceeds the standard 16-bit sound quality of CDs, starting with 24-bit transfers from the analog master tapes. This ensures that the music is delivered to listeners with increased audio fidelity that more closely replicates what the artists, recording engineers and producers intended.”

The Sun Ra Mastered for iTunes releases, the press release continues, “include material culled from session and rehearsal tapes, and production and album masters. The series includes a significant amount of previously unreleased material, some stereo mixes of tracks previously available only in mono, and complete versions of tracks that had been edited for the original LPs. Many of these tapes, and the records that were made from them, are high-quality lo-fi, having been recorded in studios, nightclubs and ad hoc rehearsal spaces. The setup often consisted of just one or two mics, an open-reel tape deck, and a primitive mixing console. The tapes reveal weird transient sounds-musicians bumping mics, a cough, dropped equipment, fingernails clicking on keyboards, accidental percussion, the studio phone ringing during a solo.”

The performances feature Arkestra stalwarts Marshall Allen (still touring with the band at age 89), tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, reed virtuoso Pat Patrick, bassist Ronnie Boykins, drummers Clifford Jarvis and Tommy “Bugs” Hunter, vocalist June Tyson, trombonist Julian Priester, percussionist Jim Herndon, and dozens of other members of the rotating Arkestral entourage.

The Sun Ra Music Archive, maintained by executive director Michael D. Anderson, houses an extensive library of 7-1/2 and 15 ips master tapes and session reels. The series’ rollout focuses on the first half of Sun Ra’s recording career, roughly 1956 to 1974, including many rare titles.

Dozens more Sun Ra titles are expected to follow the initial 21.

Each release includes a downloadable pdf booklet, researched and written by Irwin Chusid (author of Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music).

Currently available:

Supersonic Jazz (1957)
Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth (1958)
Angels and Demons At Play (1965)
Interstellar Low Ways (1966)
Jazz in Silhouette (1959)
Nubians of Plutonia (1966)
Sound Sun Pleasure (1970)
We Travel the Spaceways (1967)
Fate in a Pleasant Mood (1965)
Holiday for Soul Dance (1970)
Bad and Beautiful (1972)
The Invisible Shield (1974)
When Sun Comes Out (1963)
Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy (1967)
Monorails and Satellites, Vol. 1 (1968)
Other Planes of There (1966)
The Magic City (1966)
Strange Strings (1967)
Atlantis (1969)
Astro Black (1972)
Universe in Blue (1972)

For more details regarding MFiT, visit
Mastered for iTunes.

Originally Published