By John-Paul Shiver

In a 1974 Philadelphia radio session at the student-run WXPN-FM, University of Pennsylvania. Station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner broadcasted a jazz concert with Sun Ra and His Arkestra, educating at the utmost elevation. Minus a bass player. For a self-proclaimed alien, the composer had the innate ability to get creatively open at every chance presented to him. No matter the site. Confines. Or even missing instruments or band members. Sun Ra delivered on every opportunity to perform as a teaching moment. Proof lies in the constant onslaught of releases that continually see the light of day. While the discography is devastating, it is the delivery that is always uncanny. It’s a brand.

Of Abstract Dreams, a four-song document of these newly found sessions, allows us to audibly see the twinkle in everyone’s eyes as compositions get elongated, refurbished by the spirit, and lived in. Not performed. This release features a new version of Sun Ra’s Island In The Sun, a metaphysically swinging of his fist on the playful, blustery rendition of Unmask The Batman. The Antique Blacks album was recorded at the station earlier in ’74. So home field association peaks on the hard-swinging composition, I’ll Wait For You. It opens up in a full bluesy funk stride alerting all that a journey is upon us. About four minutes in John Gilmore commits to a “chesty upper and lower register” burner of a tenor sax solo. Just over the drums and congas. To cover for the missing bass player, Sun Ra uses his left hand on the side of the piano to beat out a rhythmic bass pattern. Creating a jazz cypher of sorts. Then gently, it gives way to Ra and company prophesizing in chant via a bouncy eagerness “In Some Far Place./Many Light Years in Space/I’ll Wait for you/The Human Eye/ Has never seen/The Human feet/Have never tried/I’ll build a world/Of Abstract dreams/And I’ll wait for you.”

Listen to Of Abstract Dreams EP via bandcamp or the youtubes below