Sun Ra

SHUFFLER 0029: DESPITE (OR MAYBE BECAUSE OF) THE COSMOS

SHUFFLER 0029: DESPITE (OR MAYBE BECAUSE OF) THE COSMOS
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Sun Ra – “Blue Differentials” from Monorails and Satellites (1966 Saturn/Evidence)

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To say that Sun Ra was an afrofuturist would be an understatement. The man reported having been to Saturn, and didn’t seem to be joking. His career, musical output, and very persona seem to be based upon this belief.

But then, every once in a while, despite (or maybe because of) the cosmos, you get some real straightforward stuff from him. Such is the case with “Blue Differentials.” Here we have, first of all, a phenomenal sounding piano. It’s sounds just enough like a saloon piano that maybe almost kind of needs a tuning, but the result is just an incredible warmth. Sun Ra solos at the keys here, demonstrating his acuity with the walking blues style. At times there are some discordant notes that are clearly intentionally worked in, and they work. It is well documented that Ellington was a big influence on Monk (and both men are heroes of mine); here we hear the influence of both of those masters of the jazz piano.

Near the end of the song the recording gets a little warbly, possibly due to some problems with the source tape. This is something of a happy accident, though, adding in its way to the atmosphere of the song overall.

Apologies, friends, but as sometimes happens, upon traveling the spaceways of the internet I’ve come up empty-handed. If you know where I can find a video for this song, please leave a comment. Thanks.