Song Of The Day: Sun Ra, “Island In The Sun”

Sun Ra–to date Saturn’s greatest jazz and musical export––was an exceedingly prolific talent whose music and muse was so restless and frenetic that recordings are still being found twenty-five years after the master returned to his home planet. With a prolific nature such as his, quality control was always an issue. His music ranged from soft and soothing to disturbing and schizophrenic, undeniably beautiful songs could and often did rest beside sounds that were completely unlistenable. Janus appeared in the 1990s, compiling lost and unreleased material. Meant more for the hard-core listener, the music of Janus can occasionally be rough going and patience challenging, yet a respite can  be found in “Island in the sun,” a mellow, soothing tropical number recorded sometime in the late 1960s, yet a song you will swear you have heard on the soundtrack of any number of late 1950s and early 1960s B–movies. While Janus might not be a good place to start for neophytes, and may even be challenging for more experienced listeners, it isn’t completely without merit.

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