Sun Ra

Sun Ra ( May 22nd, 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama, † May 30, 1993 there; actually Herman " Sonny " Blount ) was an American experimental, avant-garde jazz composer and jazz musician ( piano, organ, keyboards), poet and philosopher.

Life and work

Sun Ra was regarded during his lifetime as a myth and until today as one of the most controversial jazz musician. By his own style and his innovative ideas, he polarized the critics and audience. Did the one in him a brilliant innovator, he was other than a charlatan. Sun Ra's performance as one of the pioneers of free jazz is, however, undisputed.

He achieved fame by his bizarre astrological sermons and philosophies as well as through his musical compositions and performances. He put his birth name in 1952, took the name of Sun Ra (Ra is the name of the ancient Egyptian sun god) and led a band with a constantly changing cast, which became known as the Arkestra. The most notable members of the Arkestra were the saxophonist John Gilmore, whose work influenced the of John Coltrane, and Marshall Allen, the Arkestra (2014) still heads today. The word Sun Ra Arkestra understood as a combination of Arché and orchestra.

The musical development of Sun Ra can be roughly divided into three periods. In the 1950s, his music evolved from big band swing, with which he, as with Wynonie Harris began his career in the 1940s. But when day job he also lived jobs as the arranger at Chicago's Club DeLisa, who gave him Red Saunders. In a reinvention of itself, the theme of certain space issues "Cosmic Jazz" began to emerge, with whom he gained fame. Music critics and jazz historians, according to some of his best works were created during this period. Notable Sun Ra albums from the 1950s are among many other Super-Sonic Jazz, Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth, Interstellar Low Ways, Angels And Demons At Play, We Travel The Spaceways and jazz in silhouette.

In addition, the eccentrics also began in the 1950s to wear outlandish costumes and headdresses in Egyptian style. He claimed that he did not originate from Earth, but the planet Saturn, and developed a fictional character from the "cosmic " philosophies and lyrical poetry that preached awareness and peace above all. He distanced himself from the racism under which he himself had to suffer often, when it comes to tours and concerts of the Arkestra, without express themselves more often to do so. In general, he said, unlike many black musicians of his generation, rarely on controversial topics. He prefers music while the ensemble of musicians who worked with him and went on tour, changed almost daily.

During the 1960s, his music went through a chaotic, experimental period. During this period his popularity reached its peak when the Beat Generation and the psychedelic rock recordings his music. Ras albums from this period are for listeners that deal for the first time with his music, often difficult to access. Notable titles from this period include The Magic City, When Sun Comes Out and Other Planes Of There.

During the 1970s and later, the music of Sun Ra and the Arkestra moved to more conventional cars, but remained more highly eclectic and energetic. Through collaboration with singer June Tyson, he managed to captivate the audience. In the concerts and jazz standards now have been interpreted. Sun Ra also took a fancy to the films of Walt Disney. He began snippets from Disney songs in many of his musical performances included. In the late 1980s the Arkestra even performed a concert at Walt Disney World was. The version of Pink Elephants On Parade of the Arkestra is represented on the album Stay Awake, a collection of Disney tunes, which were interpreted by different artists.

Some of Sun Ra's concerts from the 1970s are available on CDs, but have compared to his earlier works not found widespread use. The album Atlantis can be considered the Markstein be considered, marking the start of his 1970 season.

Sun Ra was one of the most prolific musicians of jazz. Throughout his career, Sun Ra took on hundreds of albums, many of which, however, were published of tiny record labels and therefore only sold in small editions. He published his music temporarily ( for that time exceptional) on his own label "Saturn" and drove them through mail order. That left his music the large audience that does not witnessed him in concerts, unknown. In the 1990s, many of his recordings for the first time were published posthumously on CDs at record label Evidence. The early album Strange Strings (1966 ) was recorded in 1998 in the list of " 100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening )" by The Wire.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra were the subject of the documentary A Joyful Noise and in 1972 the Blaxploitationfilms Space Is the Place. The soundtrack to this film, also by Sun Ra, is available on CD.