Monday, January 16, 2012

Crawdaddyarchive Blog: "The Transparency Label Refuses to Flinch" (Sun Ra Archival Releases)

Here's an excerpt:

Of the 24 (and counting) Sun Ra titles in their roster, Transparency has plenty to be proud of here. A 1971 Helsinki show is topnotch, not just because some consider it one of his (their) best performances ever, but because it also includes a bonus DVD with an interview and footage of the band setting up for the show. There’s a 53-track monster called The Earliest Sun Ra (1946-1956), which goes all the way back to the beginning of his recording career (playing piano for Wynonie Harris) and gives a much greater understanding of his later work. There is the multi-volume Lost Reel series; a 10-CD set from Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern, and a six-CD set from New York City’s Slug’s Saloon. Of the 24 releases, there are actually 77 CDs and seven DVDs, a treasure trove. “I have this really strict rule that things picked to be released are the very best of the best,” says Sheppard, “it’s not like I’m indiscriminately putting these out.”
To this reporter, however, nothing can top the mammoth 28-CD set of a 1980 Detroit residency. For the sheer audacity of it, this one wins, and I actually laughed when first seeing it. “Who’s gonna buy this thing,” I wondered while checking to see how much cash I had on me at the time.

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