Sun Ra – Rocket Number Nine Take Off For The Planet Venus – YouTube

John Gilmore! What a great tenor player. He sounds like a slightly smoothened Coltrane, repeating himself with minor alterations until he has exhausted a particular line’s logic.

Not much of a composition composition – there is no real arrangement other than some stop-time figures and some free improv. The lyrics really drive the tune, leading to a big “All aboard!” – a train headed for Saturn.

Great fun live, I would imagine. This tune is part of the space chant performed on the Live in London album, strung together with a bunch of other tunes for one swinging medley of celebratory non-chaos. read more

The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at 50: Still Full of Joy and Whimsy – The New York Times

Source: The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at 50: Still Full of Joy and Whimsy – The New York Times

The first album I ever bought. Some of it sounds goofy to me now, but mostly it’s brilliant. An absolute classic.

Fela Kuti – Gentleman – YouTube

Africa hot
I like am so
I know what to wear
But my friend don’t know
Him put him sock
Him put him shoe
Him put him pant
Him put him singlet
Him put him trouser
Him put him shirt
Him put him tie
Him put him coat
Him come cover all with him hat
Him be gentleman
Him go sweat all over
Him go faint right down
Him go smell like shit
Him go piss for body
Him no go know
Me I no be gentleman like that
(chorus) I no be gentleman at all o
I be Africa man
(chorus) I no be gentleman at all o

SUN RA / Space Is The Place – YouTube

So many layers of counterpoint I almost get lost. This is definitely a chant-type composition in that it repeats the lyrics over and over while the instruments evolve into a multi-layered set of both tonal and non-tonal (bitonal? multi-tonal?) counterpoint. The baritone sax keeps the same line throughout, but the tenor and alto saxes along with the trumpets morph from straight-up big band arrangement to free improv. The bari, drums, and bass glue the whole thing together.

This tune, and others like it, were common ingredients in what Graham Lock refers to as “space chants”: medleys of space-themed tunes, strung together as part of a performance for and with the audience. Space chants often ended with a kind of second-line dance with musicians coming down off the stage to dance in front of, among, and with the audience. I have heard tell that sometimes the line would dance out the door of the club onto the street. A typical second-line performance can be seen in the Robert Mugge film A Joyful Noise. read more