Sun Ra goes Disco
While the world was being swept by the disco craze in 1978, Sun Ra was over in Milan, Italy, with a slimmed-down version of the Arkestra (John Gilmore, Luqman Ali, Michael Ray and June Tyson) putting down a blueprint of what dance-floor music might sound like in the future.
There aren't that many well-recorded documents of Sun Ra rocking a Moog with a rhythm box in a small-group setting, and Disco 3000 - just reissued by Art Yard as a double disc that adds six lengthy tracks from the original tapes of the Teatro Cilak show - is among the very best.
Naturally, it's also among his most sought-after indie releases, primarily for the avant-funky title tune. Fans of Sun Ra's large-band workouts might find it hard to get with the eerie minimalism of these freer jams, but hearing Sun Ra's freaky Moogulations in a stripped-down setting is a rare treat. This stuff could make for a killer horror film score. www.myspace.com/artyard
One of the more genius dance-floor moves of this past summer was the acoustic jazz combo overhaul of Derrick May's Strings Of Life sprung by Christian Prommer (of Fauna Flash infamy). Were that all that his Drumlesson project produced, it would've been a job well done. Evidently, that was just the beginning.
His new Drum Lesson Vol. 1 (Sonar Kollektiv) disc expands on the concept of revising club classics jazz-style, delivering surprisingly swinging versions of Nuyorican Soul's Nervous Track, Josh Wink's Higher State Of Consciousness, Mr. Finger's Can You Feel It, Robin "Jaydee" Albers's Plastic Dreams, Isolée's Beau Mot Plage and, yes, even Kraftwerk's Trans Europa Express. Surprisingly dope.
On deck from Sonar Kollektiv is the fourth volume of the popular Secret Love compilation series that the Jazzanova crew use to big-up their favourite current folk, pop, jazz, psych and chillout tracks that probably wouldn't fit into one of Alex Barck's club sets.
Along with the unexpeceted appearance of the Paul Weller track The Loved as a closer, the real intriguing bit about Secret Love 4 is that the Jazzanova boys have hooked up with Erol Alkan and Richard Norris, who contribute snazzy Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve remixes of Midlake's Roscoe and Findlay Brown's Losing The Will To Survive that recently caused a small furor when it made the rounds on white label.
Could there be a trippy Jazzanova psych album on the way? Watch for a new Wizard's Sleeve EP due out soon from Third Mynd. www.sonarkollektiv.com.