Space Is the Place [Impulse!] provides an excellent introduction to Sun Ra's vast and free-form jazz catalog. Typical of many Sun Ra recordings, the program is varied; earthbound songs, like the swing number "Images" and Egyptian exotica piece "Discipline," fit right in with more space-age cuts, like the tumultuous "Sea of Sounds" and the humorous "Rocket Number Nine." Sun Ra fuses many of these styles on the sprawling title cut, as interlocking harmonies, African percussion, manic synthesizer lines, and joyous ensemble blowing all jell into some sort of church revival of the cosmos. Throughout the recording, Sun Ra displays his typically wide-ranging talents on space organ and piano, reed players John Gilmore and Marshall Allen contribute incisive and intense solos, and June Tyson masterfully leads the Space Ethnic Voices on dreamy vocal flights. This is a fine recording and a must for Sun Ra fans.
Review by Ron Wynn LINKSpace Is the Place [Original Soundtrack ] is the soundtrack to a film that was made but never released, and the tunes are among his most ambitious, unorthodox, and compelling compositions. Between June Tyson's declarative vocals, chants, and dialogue and Ra's crashing, flailing synthesizer and organ fills, and with such songs as "Blackman/Love in Outer Space," "It's After the End of the World," and "I Am the Brother of the Wind," this disc offers aggressive, energized, and uncompromising material. Ra's pianistic forays, phrases, and textures were sometimes dismissed as mere noodling when they were part of a well-constructed multimedia package. This comes as close as any of Ra's releases to being not only a concept work but a blueprint for his live shows from the early '70s until the end of his career. Features some previously unissued cuts.