Sun Ra's angular yet strident and soulful "Saturn," recorded in 1958, displays bluesy cubist bop in perfect alter-dimensional extension of Fletcher Henderson. It's also a showcase for John Gilmore's sax acrobatics and supersonic swing. Gilmore dove deep into the Ra Omniverse; "got the concept" - as Coltrane described the tenor giant - hooked by this composition, and never left. Dual baritones of Pat Patrick and Charles Davis (who continues in the front line of the living, glowing Arkestra of 2016!) boil underneath Sunny, skipping lightyear intervals on the ivories. "Mystery, Mr. Ra," recorded live in 1984 and originally unissued, is just on the friendly side of ominous. Its deep funk, delivered by James Jacson on the Ancient Egyptian Astro Infinity Drum, lifts up Ra's dark bravado with no uncertainty:
"I'm Mister Re, King of the Kingdom of Mystery
I represent the splendor of the Magic Myth
I'm not a part of history
I belong to the Myth you see"
Part 2 of "Mystery" involves Sun Ra's conduction and Arkestral "space chords," collective emissions of precision and discipline from the "Ra jail." Marshall Allen is heard on alto at the conclusion.
Saturn • Mystery, Mr. Ra