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*Vinyl*
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Music  >>  Vinyl  >>  Jazz

Sun Ra

God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be

Sun Ra God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
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God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be is somewhat of a rarity in the Ra catalog — a cohesive album, with none of the stylistic eclecticism and patchwork personnel characteristically found on Saturn LPs. The album's five tracks were recorded at Variety Studios in one session by a solid jazz trio. Drummer Samarai Celestial (Eric Walker) recalls this being his first recording date with Ra; bassist Hayes Burnett had been with Ra since 1976 and would remain until 1982 or '83. Celestial continued recording and performing with the Arkestra beyond Ra's '93 departure, being a mainstay in the band under the directorship of Marshall Allen until the drummer's premature death in 1997 at age 43. 

This is an intense set of shifting moods, reflecting the telepathy that is the essence of small combo jazz. Sun Ra doesn't play notes — he paints stars. Burnett's bass runs fluid and thick. Celestial is a perpetual motion machine, displaying the muscle and propulsion of Mahavishnu-era Billy Cobham. 

One track features overdubs: two pianos can be heard on "Days of Happiness" — one in the foreground, one slightly distant. None of the five titles recur in the Ra discography. 

Question: When jazz historians talk about the pantheon of piano greats, why is Sun Ra rarely mentioned? Albums like God Is More Than Love demonstrate Sunny's unique and always identifiable (if not inscrutable) style. Few pianists could make "wrong" notes sound so right. 

Existing copies of the LP are known by several titles, including Blithe Spirit Dance, Days of Happiness, and Trio. Many Sun Ra records were not formally titled. In their haste to prepare limited pressings for sale at concerts, often someone in the band simply wrote the title of the first (or last) track title on the label (if blank) or on the generic sleeve, and that became an alternate album title. 

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