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).
Sun Ra 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. Despite being a greatly influential and prolific musician and spokesperson, few books exist on the enigmatic Sun Ra. This one provides a fascinating overview from respected musicians and fans alike.
Edited by John Sinclair
Contributions from Wayne Kramer, Michael Simmons, Ben Edmonds, Amiri Baraka , Rick Steiger, David Henderson, and others.
• Sun Ra interview with John Sinclair 1966
• Sun Ra Obituary from New Orleans Times
• El Saturn LP cover art and Sun Ra posters
• The Sun Ra Undergound: zines and bootlegs
• Report from The Embassy of the Living Sun Ra, Tillburg 2008
• Marshall Allen Interview
• Wayne Kramer on Sun Ra
• Sun Ra and the MC-5
• Amiri Baraka on Sun Ra and Black Arts
• Sun Ra Arkestra residency at Detroit Jazz Center 1980
• *Sadiq Bey’s Sun Ra Project in Berlin
• Sun Ra on Film
• The Arkestra Today