“Sun Ra is best known for the extensive archive of recordings he made with his Arkestra, and most Ra enthusiasts are probably first attracted to his work by the sui generis imagination he brought to arranging for large ensembles. These span the recalibrated swing-band tropes of Jazz In Silhouette (Saturn, 1959), a perfect choice for an advanced-level Blindfold Test, through off-planet takes on exotica such as those compiled on the previously reviewed Exotica (Modern Harmonic, 2018), and on to such spectacularly experimental albums as The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra Vol. 1 (ESP, 1965).
What are less well known are Ra’s recordings in classic piano-trio format, playing an acoustic instrument rather than choosing from the panoply of synthesizers and electric keyboards with which he is usually associated. These reveal Ra to be a pianist who combines the sensibilities of Duke Ellington or Fletcher Henderson (for whose big band he wrote arrangements in the 1940s) with a venturesome gift for harmonic invention which makes practically every other post-bop pianist sound conservative.
All but the outer reaches of Ra’s pianistic bandwidth are present on the glorious God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be, recorded in New York in 1979 and originally released on Saturn the same year. Saturn’s various rereleases in the 1980s were in limited editions, often of only a hundred or so copies, and under a variety of titles including Days Of Happiness, Blithe Spirit Dance, Trio and Blythe Spirit—in their haste to prepare pressings for sale at gigs, someone in the band often simply wrote one of the track titles on a white label or made up what seemed like an appropriate title.
God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be was last given a physical rerelease in 1989—but in March 2018 it was reissued in a remastered vinyl-only edition by Cosmic Myth.” – Chris May/AllAboutJazz.
A1 Days Of Happiness 7:27
A2 Magic City Blue 4:49
A3 Tenderness 8:33
B1 Blithe Spirit Dance 10:34
B2 God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be 6:49
Hayes Burnett – bass
Samarai Celestial – drums
Sun Ra – piano, composer
Label: Cosmic Myth Records – CMR 003
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Remastered
Reissued: 22 Mar 2018