SONS OF RA: Captivating New Tropic Of Cancer EP From Chicago Progressive/Jazz Fusion Trio Out Today And Streaming In Its Entirety

photos by Bulbbrain Creative

“There’s a reason that SONS OF RA remains a staple in the heavier side of Chicago’s music scene, often sharing bills with doom metal — they’re heavy in a way nobody else here is.” – Invisible Oranges

Tropic Of Cancer, the captivating new six-part suite from Chicago-based progressive/jazz fusion trio SONS OF RA, is out today and streaming in its entirety.

The eclectic SONS OF RA ensemble draws inspiration from avantgarde music, classic jazz fusion with post-progressive sensibilities, infusing their compositions with cosmic vibrations and experimental fervor. As demonstrated on their 2020-released Cognitive debut EP, and through live performances alongside such artists as Stu Hamm, Sonar, Chester Thompson & Alphonso Johnson, and Consider The Source, drummer Michael Rataj (Arbogast, Mine Collapse) lays an energetic and ever-shifting rhythmic framework for tenor saxophonist/bassist Keith Wakefield (Jan King & Medicine Ball) and guitarist Erik Oldman (Mare Crisium) to weave angular, contrapuntal melodies with ethereal textures augmented by loops and synthesizer explorations. More than a band, they are sonic sorcerers, weaving spells of experimental brilliance that transcend the boundaries of traditional genres.

SONS OF RA now delivers Tropic Of Cancer, a six-part suite that further showcases their sprawling sound. Tropic Of Cancer is an immersive and transformative listen, the EP covering an incredibly vast expanse of auditory territory within its twenty-three-minute lifespan. Several guests contribute performances to the record, with violin by Jessica Billey, pipa by Quentin Dover, and flute by Isaiah Sanderman further expanding its sonic scope. Tropic Of Cancer was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Spenser Morris at Palisade Studios with additional recording by Eric McWhorter at Maynott Studios, with photography by Josh Dagenais and artwork and layout by Erik Vecchione.

Tropic Of Cancer is out today on 12” vinyl, CD, and digitally via Bandcamp HERE and streaming at digital services HERE. Chicago-area vinyl-seekers can find the record in nearly a dozen shops around the city, listed on their social media.

Also watch the videos for the EP’s first, third, and fourth movements at SONS OF RA’s YouTube channel HERE.

SONS OF RA continues performing throughout the Midwest surrounding the release of the EP, including their hometown release show tomorrow, April 20th, at Chicago venue Liar’s Club. Additional Spring shows, a Fall tour, and more are also in the planning stages. See all confirmed shows below and watch for further updates to post.

4/20/2024 Liars Club – Chicago, IL *release show w/ We Killed The Lion, Human Trials, Dead Languages
5/04/2024 WZRD’s 50th Anniversary Bash @ Martyrs – Chicago, IL [info]
5/24/2024 Bantha Tea Bar – Pittsburgh, PA w/ John Hardin
5/25/2024 Mulligans – Grand Rapids, MI w/ Flood The Desert, Apostles

“…Tropic Of Cancer is immersive and engaging… Whereas rock and metal sometimes incorporate jazz elements into their song structure or contain the occasional saxophone feature, and jazz sporadically ventures into darker themes with heavier instrumentation, SONS OF RA are very comfortable exploring both worlds fully. In that sense they truly are a fusion, creating something freshly novel out of seemingly disparate parts.” – Everything Is Noise

“There’s a reason that SONS OF RA remains a staple in the heavier side of Chicago’s music scene, often sharing bills with doom metal — they’re heavy in a way nobody else here is. On the spectrum of jazz to metal, SONS OF RA skew heavily toward jazz, but they incorporate their heavier influences in a way that feels natural. Whereas a lot of ‘jazz metal’ music is either primarily metal with jazz as a texture, or just sounds like someone tossing a bucket of nails down a staircase, the trio make heavy tones and distortion feel at home against tightly syncopated grooves and expressive, unusual tonalities. They fill post-metal’s airy soundscapes with tight, but complicated motifs that layer and build into fascinating superpositions.” – Invisible Oranges

“Very cleanly played and hyper-melodic, yet clearly played by extremely talented humans… Tropic Of Cancer has, in slightly over twenty minutes, managed to shatter my preconceptions, enthrall my ears and mind, and give a blatant middle finger to the ChatGPT/AI generation.” – Rebel Extravaganza