This reissue of Sun Ra’s Nothing Is . . . comes “complete”—or at least more complete, with ninety minutes of extra music—one complete concert set from St. Lawrence University in Potsdam, New York, on May 1996, plus a partial second set and a sound check from that same evening. The liner notes, sadly, do not match the instrumental credits. You’ll have to refer to Russ Musto’s essay in the foldout to learn that Marshall Allen contributes eerie, beguiling oboe in addition to alto sax. Ra himself probably (though even the liner notes make this vague) plays a passage on his clavioline, an ancestor of the synthesizers waiting to appear around the next decade.

On the discs themselves, one hears occasional tape flutter and one odd defect where the saxophones seem pinned behind the huge, heavy blades of an industrial turbine fan. Blasting their way clear for extra-musical concerns, Sun Ra And His Band From Outer Space—a title and a statement of purpose—travel time as well as space, from Chicago big-band strut to Fletcher Hampton swing opulence, and—yes, indeed—to free-sounding freak-outs displaying ever-mounting point and counterpoint. The cosmonauts are tried, and come forth as gold.