Sun Ra & Friends (IAI video)
This forty-minute videotape was recorded live at Axis-In-Soho in downtown New York, sometime in early July, 1977 and was briefly available from Improvising Artists,Inc. (as V004) in 1981 (Campbell & Trent pp.237-238). Simply titled Sun Ra & Friends, the concert includes some solo piano pieces as well as some small ensembles with John Gilmore on tenor saxophone, Danny Davis on flute, Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet and June Tyson and Eddie Thomas on vocals. The trippy colorization effects not only look dated and cheesy, they nearly obliterate the raw footage, making it almost unwatchable today. Still, there is some nice music here, including a way-out duet with Gilmore and casual, concise takes of “When There Is No Sun,” “Gone With The Wind,” and “The Mystery Of Two” as well as a preview of “A Different Kind Of Blues,” beautifully sung by Tyson.
Big thanks to reader yotte, for sharing a link to this video, as well as Solo Piano (IAI V003), which has now been posted over at last week’s review of St. Louis Blues. It seems unlikely these things will ever receive a legitimate digital release, so check ‘em out while you can.