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College Tour Vol. 1 - The Complete Nothing Is ... (2CD) CD

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£22.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ESP DISK
  • ASIN: B003INBO7Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,458 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e5d1870) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c2e34b4) out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT CONCERT FROM RA AND HIS BAND 2 Dec. 2010
By Stuart Jefferson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two discs-70,67 minutes each approximately. The sound is very good-digitally remastered from the original tapes-especially considering the live venue and the date-1966, when this was recorded at St. Lawrence University in Potsdam, New York. In a nutshell, this is one of the best recorded Sun Ra albums in his live discography. There are only a few spots that have sonic anomalies and they are very short in duration. The discs are snapped inside a tri-fold holder, which also contains the liner notes about this recording. The band consists of: Ra-piano/electric clavioline,John Gilmore-tenor sax, Marshall Allen-alto sax, Pat Patrick-baritone sax, Robert Cummings-baritone sax, Teddy Nance and Ali Hassan-trombones, Ronnie Boykins-bass/tuba, James Jackson-log drum/flute, and Carl Nimrod-sun horn/gong.

Some random impressions. After an introduction, the band begins with a wonderful, eclectic song titled "Sun Ra And His Band From Outer Space". This is prime Ra from this era-organic, free flowing jazz slipping into John Gilmore's likewise warm yet visceral sax solo, with the band filling in all the spaces. The various horn players give this music depth, either playing solo or massed in a group, Ra's music is sharp and intelligent sounding. Special mention should go to Clifford Jarvis on drums, who holds everything together throughout this concert, and is the backbone of this music.

The tracks range from short (2+ minutes), to longer compositions (11+ minutes) which show the band in excellent playing form. The shorter tracks are just right-tight little gems, while the longer tunes give the band a chance to stretch out and really play. Track five "The Satellites Are Spinning" is the first combination of vocals and instrumental passages, and again the band acquit themselves nicely. "Advice To Medics", one of the shorter pieces, has a beautiful interweaving of percussion and baritone sax (among other instruments), and is another example of how good this band really was. "Velvet" is a straight ahead jazz number that wouldn't be out of place on any number of straight jazz albums by Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and Basie, from the 40's/50's/60's. It's length (8+ minutes) is a fine showcase for the band to get in some very good, exciting, blowing, that should prove to naysayers that Ra could both write and play straight jazz. But Ra being Ra, he lets Gilmore jump in with a fiery fairly free solo, but somehow it all works.

"Space Aura" is another straight ahead, whole band burner that features various members of the band joyously blowing solos one after another. Again, the song length gives the band room to really get into their solos. The bracing horn solos segue into a drum solo that truly is worth hearing (coming from someone who hates drum solos), with Jarvis playing his drum kit to within an inch of it's life. There's a depth and humanness to his playing that's missing from so many other drummers-which is a refreshing change of pace. Just when you think Jarvis has reached the edge of the cliff, the band comes in to rescue him in an organic , short free for all. Perfect.

Things quiet down for "The Exotic Forest", once again proving that Ra new how to pave his compositions and band to produce the desired effect. This track shows Ra's connection to African arrangements and subtle use of percussion to deepen the mood of the composition. This is a beautiful, pulsating track that's certainly a highlight (among many) of this release. "Outer Spaceways Incorporated" is another blend of music and vocal chants Ra is known for. Ra plays straight ahead piano with the rhythm section sounding like they're from a "straight" jazz group.

Disc Two begins with "The Satellites Are Spinning", which on the first disc is only a bit over one minute long. Here it's lengthened to over nine minutes, and has some fine ensemble playing from the horns, with Gilmore breaking out for a muscular yet subdued solo. This is one of the more introspective pieces from this concert, with the band laying back during a Boykins' bass solo. Subtly introduced is a flute and percussion interlude that gives way to a band vocal concerning ( what else) earth and space travel. "Velvet" gives Ra a chance to show his piano arranging skills a la Fletcher Henderson, which gives way to some fine ensemble work from the entire band, including a fine sax solo over a cooking band.

"Interplanetary Chaos" is aptly named. This is the Ra that many people associate with-his free form sound that some people call "noise". It's simply another form of jazz, and has a beauty all it's own. "The Second Stop Is Jupiter", also heard here in a longer (11+ minutes) form than on disc one (1+ minute), is another good example of how disciplined this band really was. Every player knows his place in the composition, and the restraint from the band gives this track a real identity. The flow on this track (even the drum solo) is another example of how this band could play anything they wished at any time.

"Is Is Eternal" (sic) gives Ra a chance to play some fine, slightly odd metered piano (as only Ra can), with help from the percussion players (especially the log drum), and what sounds like a bowed bass from Boykins, which help flesh out this fine composition. The disc winds up with "The Exotic Forest #2", which goes once again back to Ra's identification with Africa and Egyptian music. Her Ra plays his clavioline-mixing his playing with the other players, giving this song a truly exotic flavor.

This is one of the best (if not the best ) early Sun Ra sets to be released so far. The sound is better than most Ra live releases, and most importantly, the band follow Ra wherever he wants to go-playing an exciting mix of jazz almost intuitively. For anyone who likes early Sun Ra, and his idea of straight ahead, big band jazz arrangements, mixed with Ra's love of African/Egyptian sounds, and a bit of biting free jazz, this should be considered a next purchase. For someone who wants to know what all the fuss was (is) about, this would be an easier route to take than some of Ra's other releases. All in all, a fine release with much fine music. Hopefully "Vol. 1" means there will be a Volume 2.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c2e418c) out of 5 stars Are You Experienced? 1 Oct. 2010
By Best Of All - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one real golden nugget that is an absolute must for collectors and an outstanding place to start for casual fans searching for a "new" release from Sun Ra before diving into the vast - and often confusing - catalog.

A concise and very informative essay by Russ Musto highlights the major points that found Sun Ra embarking on a 1966 tour of New York colleges, the initial recording and album release, the recent work by Michael D. Anderson to recover the 70-minute first set from the May 18 performance at St. Lawrence University and his discovery of a partial recording of the second set and sound check from the tour stop.

Anderson brings incredible sonic life to the material - which only has a couple brief rough patches - and may have a listener forgetting that the concert took place 44 years ago. Sun Ra's vast artistic vision on the first number ("Sun Ra and His Band From Outer Space") quickly erases the stumbling introduction by Burton Greene. Moving smoothly from swing, avant-garde, "world music" and his special brew of "fusion," Sun Ra provides space for band members to stretch out on solos, with drummer Clifford Jarvis providing a special highlight to the set. The second disc includes the partial second set and sound check, which stands on its own as a quality release.

While one album cannot provide the historical perspective of Sun Ra's genius as musician and philosopher, the fresh sound courtesy of Anderson comes very close to accomplishing this tough task.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c2e4150) out of 5 stars Probably Sonny's best live performance. 24 Dec. 2012
By Heavy Theta - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
(Unless you consider all the Saturn "studio" recordings live without an audience.) This, of course, is an expansion of the classic Nothing Is, that along with Heliocentric World, was the only Sun Ra recording widely available for many years. This university gig catches the interplanetary outfit at their creative and performance peak. Ra had not yet reached his transcendent synth stage, but even that formidable set-up was hard pressed to ever match the intensity here. This package adds more of the original set, along with a second. All of which is great to have, though does not significantly improve on the original cut. But it's nicely remastered. And if your are into Sun Ra, this is seriously requisite stuff.
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