Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sun Ra Arkestra, Richmond Folk Festival, October 10-11, 2015

Here's a small sampling of the glorious Sun Ra Arkestra cooking at the Richmond Folk Festival last Sunday, doing "I'll Wait for You" over "Discipline 27." They played both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, doing mostly unique sets each time save for a rip-roaring rendition of "Saturn" (with the syncopated melody line as featured on Pictures of Infinity) and a slow, slinky "Lion of the Heavens" (a.k.a. "Sunology" with vocals).

I have to say, before this I had not seen the Arkestra post-Ra, and I did have slight misgivings going in. I was halfway expecting, I don't know, lame repertory versions of the greatest hits and lots of chanting. Well, I was wrong. They plainly and simply kicked righteous ass. They did play lots of the "hits," but the arrangements were solid and inventive, the soloing was superb, and it was way more powerful and emotional than I ever dreamed it would be. Marshall Allen was in excellent form, both on alto sax (which he played way more than I'd hoped) and on EVI. The whole band cooked. And as a bonus, NRBQ pianist Terry Adams sat in on keyboards! I was blown away. The highlight of Sunday's show was "Dancing Shadows," which they played really, really fast, taking it way, way out. It was something else!!!

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