Daily Download: "Of Heavenly Things," Sun Ra

An exclusive download from the Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra.

Published June 17, 2005 7:01AM (EDT)

The mythos that surrounds Sun Ra and his legendary eccentricity is so overwhelming that the legacy of his musical achievements has been somewhat stifled by it. But Ra deserves to be thought of as one of the greatest composers in jazz, a unique bandleader who combined free improvisation and modern classical sensibilities to create a music that was quite unlike anything that had been done before -- and bears only a tangential relationship to the other free jazz of the time. 1966's "Heliocentric Worlds, Vol. 1," his first record for ESP, is a masterpiece of sonic texture, mostly exploring a murky, subaqueous world of muted low-end tones (bass, bass marimba, timpani) interrupted by brash orchestral flare-ups.

By Salon Staff

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