Sun Ra "The Night of the Purple Moon" LP

Sun Ra "The Night of the Purple Moon" LP

Regular price $ 16.99 $ 0.00 Unit price per
The Night of the Purple Moon, recorded and released in 1970, has a vague flavor of the prevailing psychedelic zeitgeist of the late 1960s. That's due to the presence of two electronic keyboards that were popular with psych bands: the Rock-Si-Chord (commonly misspelled Rocksichord) and the Minimoog.

The former, built by Rocky Mount Instruments and first sold around 1967-68, was used by rock bands as a louder stand-in for the harpsichord, which could not compete against high-decibel electric guitars. (The Rock-Si-Chord was also famously showcased on Terry Riley's 1968 tour de force A Rainbow in Curved Air.)

Ra owned an early custom Minimoog (a portable Moog synthesizer), and had previously featured (pre-Mini-) Moog modules on My Brother the Wind Vol. 1, recorded in 1969. Ra would use the Minimoog on several more recordings, including the magnum opus "Space Probe," and tour with it for several years. Unlike many recording artists at the time, Ra was not interested in using innovative instruments to frame familiar pop songs; he wanted to explore the sonic possibilities with futuristic music. Ra often treated the Minimoog brutally, wrenching from it exotic textures and distorted blasts at Richter-level magnitudes. Bob Moog invented the Minimoog. Sun Ra reinvented it.

However, listening to Purple Moon, one gets the sense that after a decade of experimentalism and free jazz, Sun Ra wanted to make an accessible pop record. What he came up with is not Iron Butterfly, but had this record been properly marketed, it could have appealed to a segment of that band's market. If one-tenth of those who bought In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida purchased Purple Moon, Sun Ra would have reached the lower rungs of the Billboard charts.

The Arkestra on Purple Moon is skeletal, with only three sidemen: saxophonist John Gilmore (tenor on "Impromptu Festival," drums on other tracks), bassist Stafford James (his sole recording with Ra), and Danny Davis, who plays reeds and percussion. Gilmore was one of the greatest saxophonists of his generation. As a drummer, he's one of the greatest saxophonists of his generation.

Share this Product