Sun Ra And His Galactic Arkestra When Angels Speak Of Love

Of the latest crop of his reissues, When Angels Speak of Love is the best, but also the least publicised. Angels...is a classic recording of the Arkestra at their finest in 1963. Ra is sometimes accused of encouraging freedom within a groove context, but that belittles both his compositional mastery and the complexity of his percussive arrangements. At this time - half a decade prior to psychedelia and dub - Ra was using tape echo as a rhythmic element with which the entire Arkestra interacted. "Celestial Fantasy" could not have been written without tape echo, as it determines the relationship between oboe, trumpet and percussion. "The Idea of It All" is a beyond hard bop scorcher that shows off Ra's considerable "energy" piano skills, often derided by critics. The title tune is yet another example of Ra's ability to write sensitive, albeit strange, ballads. Unquestionably the best track is the no holds barred 18-minute blowing session "Next Stop Mars," featuring tenor sax John Gilmore. Gilmore's blowing is way beyond anything any other sax player - even Coltrane - was doing in 1963 (or even 1966, when this album was eventually released). The crazy dub interactivity raises the performances to new heights and this CD ranks among the very best of his New York material. (Evidence)