The first of a two volume (2-CD) set released by IKEF recordings is a conversation, which, according to Eugene Redmond, executor of the estate of Henry Dumas, was probably taped at Slugs Saloon, in New York City, in 1966, between Sun Ra, the ever-evolved musician and improviser, and Henry Dumas, African-American poet and close friend to Sun Ra. The recording would not exist, had it not been for Dumas' interest in the archiving of the creativity surrounding his life, especially in New York City.
Both men are no longer with us. Sun Ra departed from this earth in 1993, as a result of the gradual weakening of his body due to a series of strokes; Dumas' death occurred when he was 33, the victim of a gunshot, misfired by a transit policeman. Dumas is known for his publication, " 'Arks of Bones' and Other Stories" and Sun Ra for his mysticism, the ankh being an Egyptian symbol of life or eternal spirit ---thus explaining the title of the CD.
Both men dedicated their lives to creation in effort to transcend the horrors and indignities suffered by African-Americans and elevate them to a spiritual plane, where all that has been endured, can be left behind. This conversation manifests the intentions behind, through, and with, those efforts. Dumas' questioning of Sun Ra is rather direct and demonstrates Dumas' grip of Sun Ra's direction in music and in life. In fact, Dumas poses each question on behalf of those who are not acquainted with Sun Ra's belief system. In some ways, I believe that Dumas was aware of how Sun Ra would answer and was, therefore, able to expand on his questions to shape the depths he could reach in the discussion.
Music plays in the background (I don't know whether it is live or mastered in), which sometimes renders difficult hearing Dumas; Sun Ra's voice speaks loud and clear though and his voice is remarkably soft and distinct.
The recording reveals, briefly, how Sun Ra thought. Sun Ra practiced "Infinity"; how can Sun Ra's beliefs and his practice as "a force of nature" be encapsulated into 24:25? This is only a means to enter the vastness of Sun Ra's Metaphysics and the manner in which he has been appointed by "The Being" to eliminate "confusion" from "the planet". The liner notes touch on what is said in the recording. This seems detrimental to the spoken words.
Dumas' anticipation of Sun Ra's answers to his questions and comments is clearly evident in the last question Dumas asks Sun Ra: "As a representative [of the Being], are you allowed to give the name of the Being?"
I will not give away Sun Ra's response.