EABS-DISCIPLINE OF SUN RA.

EABS-Discipline Of Sun Ra.

Label: Astigmatic Records.

Format: CD.

Having orbited planet earth and ascertained that it was safe to land, the spaceship carrying the Sun Ra Arkestra landed in Kalisz, one of the oldest cities in the Polish People’s Republic on the ‘7th’ of December 1986. Martial law had been imposed by the Pro-Moscow regime five years earlier in 1981 and life in socialist era Poland was  tough. However,  for the past thirteen years the people of Kalisz had looked forward to the International Jazz Piano Festival. 

Especially in 1986, when it was announced that the Sun Ra Arkestra had been booked for the thirteenth edition of the Festival. They were due to take to the stage on the ‘7th’ of December 1986. That night, the tapes were running and concert was recorded for posterity. 

Those who saw the Sun Ra Arkestra that night in Kalisz never forgot what was a truly memorable performance. They knew that they were fortunate to witness the Arkestra at the peak of their powers.  

In 2019, Live In Kalisz 1986 was belatedly released and at last, a new audience were able to hear what turned out to be the only concert that the Sun Ra Arkestra played in Poland.   

By then, Sun Ra’s music was influencing a new generation of musicians. This included the members of EABS (Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions). They eagerly awaited the release of Live In Kalisz 1986 and at last were able to hear that legendary concert by the Sun Ra Arkestra. It insprired the jazz improv sextet to put on a special concert related to this release of Live In Kalisz 1986. This wasn’t all. 

During the lockdown, EABS recorded tribute to Sun Ra. This became EABS fifth album Discipline Of Sun Ra which was recently released by Astigmatic Records.

Despite having just released their fifth album, many record buyers have still to discover EABS. It’s still one of European music’s best kept secrets.

Initially, the group was akin to a movement where improv musicians met up and played together. Some heard about the sessions by chance, and others by word of mouth. Soon, other types of musicians started to come along to the sessions and the numbers grew. By then, a concept had evolved.

The concept was reconstruction of deconstruction, and this was a tribute to the musicians that had influence the members of the EABS crew. This included everyone from Ahmad Jamal and Gil Scott-Heron to Jay Dee and Pete Rock.They had influenced the musicians who had made their way to the sessions and would become part of EABS

EABS “pursues the tradition of the Polish school of jazz, while escaping various sound patterns, presenting a carefree and completely original approach to genres and established musical standards.” That’s been the case since they released throughout their career.

Puzzle Mixtape.

In November 2016, EABS released Puzzle Mixtape an album of jazzy hip hop on Astigmatic Records. It’s now a much-prized rarity amongst collectors, and showcased the talented sextet .

Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda).

They returned with their sophomore album Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda) in June 2017. It was ostensibly an album of classic jazz that was interspersed with modern sounds. The album well received by critics and so was EABS third album.

Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda) Live At Jazz Club Hipnoza (Katowice).

This was Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda) Live At Jazz Club Hipnoza (Katowice) which was released to critical acclaim in July 2018. Although it was another album in the tradition of the Polish Jazz school, it found EABS continuing to reinvent the genre and combined jazz with elements of avant-garden. The album went on to win numerous awards and introduced EABS music to a wider audience.

Slavic Spirits.

EABS returned in June 2019 with what was their finest album, Slavic Spirits. This time around, they eschewed the influence of the Polish Jazz school on what was a much more experimental album. It was inspired by Slavic mythology and Polish demonology and found the group reflecting upon the modern spiritual condition of the Polish people. However, it was what EABS describe as “Slavic melancholy” that was the inspiration for the album. They explored this on Slavic Spirits which was the finest album of their career. 

Discipline Of Sun Ra.

Little did anyone know that a few months after the release of Live In Kalisz 1986 that the world was about to be descended into darkness when a pandemic swept planet earth and lockdowns followed.That was when EABS decided to record their tribute to Sun Ra. This became Discipline Of Sun Ra.

The members of EABS chose seven Sun Ra classics that they would recreate. This included Brainville, Interstellar Low Ways, The Lady with the Golden Stockings (The Golden Lady, Discipline, Neo-Project Number 2, Trying To Put The Blame On Me and UFO. These tracks were recorded using two of Sun Ra’s ideas deconstruction and discipline. 

Sun Ra’s concept of deconstruction came about when he decided to recreate the music of swing legend Fletcher Henderson. He dispatched members of the Arkestra to research individual members of the group. However, he warned them it wasn’t so much a case of copying the parts, it was a case of having the correct information to recreate the spirt behind them.  

Just as important was Sun Ra’s series of exercises and compositions entitled Discipline which were adopted and used by the Arkestra. He designed these exercises with the minimum amount of material in mind. The foundation was the brass section, and this found a cyclical melody unfolding from the fragments that allowed each member of the Arkestra to play their lines exactly and without any deviation from the score. This is what the title to EABS’ album Discipline Of Sun Ra refers to. 

The music on Discipline Of Sun Ra is quite different to the original versions. On the album opener Brainville Sun Ra’s lyrics seem prophetic: “It’s after the end of the world, don’t you know that yet?” EABS then take Sun Ra’s original as a starting point and reinvent it combining of theatre, jazz, sci-fi sounds and jazz-funk and free jazz. It certainly whets the listener’s appetite for the rest of the album.

Interstellar Low Ways veers between futuristic, sensual and melancholy as EABS adopt a less is more approach. Sometimes, there’s a lo-fi sound to the otherworldly sound to keyboards as the track becomes dreamy and cinematic.

Quite different is The Lady with the Golden Stockings (The Golden Lady) which has an edgier, jittery sound. Here EABS draw inspiration from Nu-Jazz and deploy lo-fi beats, sci-fi synths as horns take centrestage and a haunting laugh interjects. It’s a moderne makeover of a Sun Ra classic that its creator would appreciate.

Discipline 27 is cinematic, urgent and dramatic as sci-fi sounds, crunchy mesmeric beats and free jazz horns combine to create a futuristic widescreen soundscape.

Initially Neo-Project Number 2 is slow and almost laidback but gradually it’s all change as the drums power the arrangement along and combine with bass to inject a degree of urgency. Keyboards shimmer as a piano glistens and the horns play slowly and deliberately. It’s a captivating track where the more one listens the more one hears.

Trying To Put The Blame On Me is a slow, smooth and beautiful and is one of the highlights of the album. It’s a Sun Ra cover I’ll never tire of hearing.

UFO closes Discipline Of Sun Ra on a high with what’s  an irresistible fusion of space funk, hip hop, jazz and Sun Ra’s inimitable philosophy. The track is given a 21st Century makeover by EABS who have kept one of the best until last.

When EABS released Slavic Spirits in 2019, it was the finest album of the group’s career. That was until the recent release of Discipline Of Sun Ra which is without doubt the finest album of their five album career.

On Discipline Of Sun Ra EABS reimagine and reinvent seven of Sun Ra’s classics using two of his concepts, deconstruction and discipline. To do this, they combine elements of avant-garde, contemporary jazz, electronica, free jazz, funk, hip hop, jazz-funk, library music and Nu-Jazz with lo-fi beats and sci-fi synths. The result is Discipline Of Sun Ra, a career-defining album from EABS, and their  genre-melting homage to the man from Saturn, a true musical pioneer and giant of jazz whose groundbreaking music is timeless.

EABS-Discipline Of Sun Ra.

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