Strut follow up their hugely successful Marshall Allen-curated ‘In The Orbit Of Ra’ compilation with a newly curated set from the immense 125 LP back catalogue of jazz maverick, DIY philosopher and self-professed member of an “angel race”, Sun Ra. ‘To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds’ is a hand-picked selection from BBC 6Music / Worldwide DJ Gilles Peterson, long-time champion of Ra’s music and the UK’s leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts.
Sun Ra was a one-off in the history of jazz. As author Robert L. Campbell describes, “He claimed to be the last of the swing band leaders, yet dosed classic songs with LSD. He wrote poetry about the “coming space age” and claimed to be a citizen of Saturn. He dressed himself and his band in gold-lamé and lectured on the Creator’s message to the cruel and deceitful Earthman. He named himself after an Egyptian God. Was this guy for real? Sun Ra was very much for real.”
For the CD version, Peterson picks personal favourites, classics and unreleased tracks and weaves them into a flowing piece across 2CDs, showcasing the incredible variety of Ra’s work. Alongside the familiar tones of ‘Love In Outer Space’, the modal classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and a heavy version of ‘We Travel The Spaceways’, he brings in the off-kilter 1950s doo-wop of ‘Dreaming’, a 45 given to him personally by the late John Peel, alongside an unreleased 1987 bossa take on ‘Astro Black’, the experimental dub ambience of ‘Adventure-Equation’ and the defiant anthem, ‘Blackman’.
The 2LP features full length versions of selected tracks from the mix while the digital version features a full unmixed selection with Peterson’s mix available within the album bundle. Sleeve notes on physical formats come from Gilles Peterson with a full Ra career biography by author Robert L. Campbell. The album also features previously unseen photos from the archives of Val Wilmer alongside full musician line-ups and session details.