Headpress Books
Established 1991

Free Shipping on Orders Over £75 ׀ New Post: The Town Slowly Empties – Audio Teaser

Sun Ra

A collection of interviews and essays on Sun Ra, his contemporaries, his records, his myth and his fan base.

£9.99

Clear

Sun Ra

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
SKU fe9fc289c3ff Categories , ,

Composer, bandleader, pianist and space philosopher, Sun Ra was a unique individual and one of the most colorful and enduring of musical legacies, transcending time, place and culture.

From the mid 1950s until his death in 1993, Sun Ra led “The Arkestra”, a fluid collective that lived and played together under the despotic tutelage of their leader, who claimed to hail from Saturn. Their music was jazz, but avant garde compositions in which players were instructed to adhere to a “space key” — improvising without regard for conventional tonal centers — was symptomatic of an altogether different direction in sound: electronic music, space music and free improvisation.

But Sun Ra’s legendary status was earned as much for his eccentricities as for his unique artistic vision. He developed and propagated a mystifying sci-fi mythology which he weaved into both the music and Dadaist performances of The Arkestra (performances which inspired artists as diverse as George Clinton and MC5).

This book collects together for the first time interviews with Sun Ra, his confidantes, and his contemporaries, alongside illuminating essays exploring his prolific musical output, mystique, philosophy, fans, and much more.

Edited by John Sinclair

Contributions from Wayne Kramer, Michael Simmons, Ben Edmonds, Amiri Baraka , Rick Steiger, David Henderson, John Sinclair and others.

Amiri Baraka

Ben Edmonds

David Henderson

David Kerekes

DAVID KEREKES is co-founder of the publishing house Headpress. He has given talks and written extensively on film and media, including the books Killing for Culture (1994; expanded and revised in 2015), See No Evil and Sex Murder Art. His novella Mezzogiorno is rooted in the impoverished Italian South, touching on themes of family, community, place, and deep-rooted occult and folkloric beliefs. He has contributed to zines and books, most recently the foreword to Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).

John Sinclair

In 1969, the poet-provocateur, MC5 manager and White Panther JOHN SINCLAIR found himself the victim of that decade’s draconian American drug laws, and facing a twenty-year jail sentence for the possession of two joints. The counterculture Sinclair helped create came to his rescue, however, when John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Phil Ochs and others performed at a successful benefit gig to petition for his release. Since that epochal moment, Sinclair (whom Ben Edmonds calls the “hardest working poet in showbiz”) has travelled the globe with his beat verses and inimitable growl, performing with some of the world’s finest musicians. He interviewed Sun Ra in 1966.

Michael Simmons

Rick Steiger

Wayne Kramer