Sunrise in Different Dimensions

Sunrise in Different Dimensions
Live album by Sun Ra Arkestra
Released 1981
Recorded February 24, 1980 (1980-February-24)
Gasthof Morhen
Willisau, Switzerland
Genre Jazz
Length 87:13
Label hatHUT
Producer Werner X. Uehlinger

Sunrise in Different Dimensions is a 1980 live jazz album by the Sun Ra Arkestra documenting a concert at the Gasthof Morhen in Willisau, Switzerland from February 24, 1980. The album intermingles a variety of Sun Ra originals with covers of jazz standards.

Critical response

Critical response to the album has been largely positive, with some dissent. In a 1983 review of the album, The Boston Globe described it as a "tour de force", "one of Sun Ra's best."[1] Scott Yanow in his Allmusic review characterized it as "one of the better examples of [Sun Ra's] late-period band."[2] Ajay Heble, author of Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice, indicates that the album "does seem to me to do justice to the energy of Ra's performances."[3] The album is featured in the 2000 book The Essential Jazz Records: Modernism to Postmodernism, where contributor Eric Thacker indicates that it is the cover songs that establish the record's "value as a breathless and windswept view astern from a supersonic jazz roadster's dickey-seat".[4] Fred Kaplan, in Slate, described Sun Ra's arrangements here of Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins and Jelly Roll Morton as "inspired".[5] But critic Stanley Crouch finds the band in this performance "woefully out of tune and botching the leader's arrangements".[6]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[8]


Jazz critic Scott Yanow describes the Sun Ra originals here as "diverse and generally adventurous", while describing the ensemble covers as "ragged and eccentric".[2] Among the songs singled out from the track list for special examination in Landing on the Wrong Note are "Light from a Hidden Sun" and "Big John's Special". Heble points out the alterations Sun Ra makes to the latter, which expand the big band sound, and suggests that Sun Ra's homage to the jazz composer Horace Henderson is part of Sun Ra's attempt to "reclaim" the "misrepresented history" of swing music, which had become associated with white musicians following the popularity of Benny Goodman.[9] He draws attention to the Sun Ra piano solo "Light from a Hidden Sun" as exemplifying "the range and scope of Sun Ra's musical vision", adding that "there's beauty and elegance here, a compelling sense of swing, too, even in the freest moments."[10]

The Essential Jazz Records describes as "unevocative" and "unreflective" "Cocktails for Two" and "'Round Midnight", though it indicates that the latter is "brisk and sharp-edged", with "a strong ensemble confidence."[4] Thacker finds "Lady Bird/Half Nelson" a unique interpretation fueled by "He-man pianistics", while both "Big John's Special" and "Yeah Man!" are nostalgic, if marked by "lightsome mockery of swing-band cliché" and irresistible "death-defying glee".[4] He describes "Queer Notions" as "cohesive", "Limehouse Blues" as "unrepentantly skewed", "Take the "A" Train" as "an inebriated waltz" and "Lightnin'" as "full-tilt swing".[11] Thacker also comments on the contribution by June Tyson to one of the Sun Ra originals at the end of the album: "something that no chronicler of big-band jazz should overlook—a band vocal."[12] "On this one," he notes, "Sun Ra, Tyson and Co. bring the solar system well within the range of the Holiday brochure: 'On Jupiter, the skies are always blue.'"[12]

All CD editions (three, as of 2011) delete two songs from the original 2-LP set.

Track listing

Except where otherwise noted, all songs composed by Sun Ra.

  1. "Light from a Hidden Sun" – 3:52[13]
  2. "Pin-Points of Spiral Prisms" – 4:41
  3. "Silhouettes of the Shadow World" – 7:20
  4. "Cocktails for Two" (Sam Coslow, Arthur Johnston) – 3:21
  5. "'Round Midnight" (Bernie Hanighen, Thelonious Monk, Cootie Williams) – 6:39
  6. "Lady Bird/Half Nelson" (Tadd Dameron, Miles Davis) – 7:58
  7. "Big John's Special" (Horace Henderson) – 3:37
  8. "Yeah Man!" (Fletcher Henderson, Noble Sissle) – 3:29
  9. "Provocative Celestials" - 10:55 - (only on vinyl)
  10. "Love In Outer Space" - 4:55 - (only on vinyl)
  11. "Disguised Gods in Skullduggery Rendez Vous" – 9:05
  12. "Queer Notions" (Coleman Hawkins) – 2:44
  13. "Limehouse Blues" (Philip Braham, Douglas Furber) – 3:44
  14. "King Porter Stomp" (Jelly Roll Morton) – 3:32
  15. "Take the "A" Train" (Billy Strayhorn) – 5:07
  16. "Lightin'" (Duke Ellington) – 2:43
  17. "A Helio-Hello! And Goodbye Too!" – 3:12



  1. Greenlee, Steve (2003-03-28). "Vandemark 5 to Coltrane to John Zorn: music that sets us free". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  2. 1 2 Sunrise in Different Dimensions at AllMusic
  3. Heble, 125.
  4. 1 2 3 Harrison, 231.
  5. Kaplan, Fred (2004-04-07). "Trumpeting mediocrity: was Wynton Marsalis ever that good?". Slate. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  6. Crouch, Stanley (2007). Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz. Basic Books. p. 127. ISBN 0-465-01512-3.
  7. Allmusic Review
  8. Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 186. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  9. Heble, 126-127.
  10. Heble, 126.
  11. Harrison, 231-232.
  12. 1 2 Harrison, 232.
  13. Track list information from


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