The vitality you hear on Antique Blacks is a testament to the unique energy of the community around The Foxhole Cafe in Philadelphia, as Ra honed his unique brand of Afro-Futurism through the late 60';s and 70's. Cosmic theatre, spiritual chants, and experimental electronics make this record an essential document that was ahead of its time. Ancient to future! BIG TIP !
The 1970s saw change in Sun Ra's recorded output, and as far as we can tell, the content of his live performances. By the middle of the decade, Sun Ra's music no longer seemed comprehensible as part of the jazz New Thing – quirkier, more idiosyncratic elements were more to the fore.
At this time, 1974, every Sun Ra record still surprised, and seemed radically different from everything else he had released up to then. The musical universe proposed by free jazz had never circumscribed Sun Ra. He had been part of the movement, but was able to use the possibilities it suggested without being limited by its conventions.
The Antique Blacks illustrates this well. Recorded as a radio broadcast in Philadelphia, according to Dale Williams, it has a well defined but oddball structure. Sun Ra was a master architect, very concerned to use the unfolding of an album, a broadcast or a live performance to create a satisfying structure.
Song No 1 starts on an upbeat note, it's a lively, tonal introduction, featuring John Gilmre on tenor saxophone, Sun Ra on roksichord, Dale Williams, then aged 15, on guitar, and Akh Tal Ebah on trumpet.
Sun Ra's poetry is featured on There Is Change In The Air, a track which has on occasion been used for the album title: in its original incarnation as a Saturn LP, there was no dedicated sleeve artwork, and this record appeared under many names. Ra's poetry is allusive, elusive and paradoxical, and this was its first major appearance on a record. During instrumental passages, Dale Williams' guitar is heard, along with the saxophones of Marsha
Sun Ra ft. John Gilmore