Sun Ra: Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel

illustration of Sun Ra image 0
Johanna Goodman

illustration of Sun Ra

Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel performs the much-needed service of providing a one-disc summary of Ra’s musical odyssey. The first half of the collection is comprised of Chicago-era chestnuts like “Enlightenment” that showcase Ra’s swank big band charts. The second half of the program is split between tracks recorded during the Arkestra’s New York and Philadelphia residencies, and accurately reflects how Ra veered between relatively straight-up cookers like “Otherness Blue” and sonic eruptions like “We’ll Wait for You.”

Hard-core Ra devotees will undoubtedly dicker ad nauseum over some choices and omissions, but, on balance, Greatest Hits is a solid, representative collection. It also sustains the myth of sales potential.