More explorations of outer space by the spokesman for the space age.
When Walt Whitman wrote, "I am vast; I contain multitudes," he could have been channeling Sun Ra. The man born Herman Blount in Alabama, who claimed he was from Saturn, was equally at home reviving Fletcher Henderson compositions based on their original arrangements or unleashing totally free-form, athematic group improvisation - and many styles in between. It was practically a given that a New York-based (as he was in the '60s) avant-jazz performer as colorful and eccentric as Sun Ra would end up on ESP-Disk'.
The 1965 sessions that produced the two volumes of Heliocentric Worlds came during the most extremely free-form period of Ra's career, contemporaneous with The Magic City (Saturn Records). Volume 1, recorded in April with an 11-member band, consisted of seven relatively short tracks (none over eight minutes); recorded in November with an octet, Volume 2, in contrast, was much freer and featured the side-long "The Sun Myth" and the 15-minute "Cosmic Chaos." The horn players and bassist Ronnie Boykins have plenty of room to stretch out and take full advantage. "A House of Beauty" offers five minutes of relatively lyrical respite between the other tracks.
It's worth getting the vinyl LP of Volume 2 just for the iconic cover designed by Paul Frick, consisting of a German astronomical chart of the solar system and portraits of Sun Ra and famous astronomers. Re-pressed for its 50th Anniversary in a limited edition on Esperanto-green, 180-gram vinyl