Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sun Ra - DIW EP Collection

 Yesterday was Sun Ra's birthday, or his "Earth arrival day," as some are referring to it, since he claimed to be from Saturn. In honor of this most amazing and mysterious musician, I played three rare Japanese EPs.

On August 8, 1988, Sun Ra and his Arkestra played a concert at the Pit-Inn in Tokyo. The Japanese label DIW recorded the show, and issued an album called Live at Pit-Inn: Cosmo Omnibus Imagiable Illusion. It's an excellent album, issued on LP and CD; the music is the typical mixture of Ra originals, improvisations, standards, old swing tunes, and space chants that the Arkestra was doing at the time.

But DIW also issued a limited edition set of three 33.3 EPs from the concert. When I became a hardcore Sun Ra enthusiast many years ago, I read about these records, but never thought I would ever see a set. These records have never been reissued, and have remained scarce and hard to find through the years. Much to my surprise, I managed to pick up a mint set a few years ago, and barely paid more that the original list price for them. There is about 30 minutes of music on these records. I'm particularly fond of the two 1930s big band swing tunes Ra included: Coleman Hawkins' "Queer Notions" and "Frisco Fog," originally recorded by the Fletcher Henderson and Jimmie Lunceford bands, respectively.

As a public service, since these records are so elusive, here are mp3 rips of all six sides.

Queer Notions
Prelude No. 7 (Chopin)

East of the Sun
Frisco Fog

Opus Springtime
Cosmo Swing Blues

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