Track Listing. Sun Ra. Mu Sun Ra. Lemuria Sun Ra. Yucatan Sun Ra. Bimini Sun Ra. Atlantis Sun Ra. Initially focused on 45 rpm singles by Sun Ra and artists related to him, Saturn Records issued two full-length albums during the s: Super-Sonic Jazz and Jazz In Silhouette In the late s, Sun Ra and his band began wearing the outlandish, Egyptian-styled or science fiction -themed costumes and headdresses for which they became known.
These costumes had multiple purposes: they expressed Sun Ra's fascination with ancient Egypt and the space age , they provided a distinctive uniform for the Arkestra, they provided a new identity for the band onstage, and comic relief. Sun Ra thought avant garde musicians typically took themselves far too seriously.
To save money, Sun Ra and his band members lived communally. This enabled Sun Ra to request rehearsals spontaneously and at any time, which was already a noted habit of his. This was a breakthrough to new audiences and recognition. Sun Ra's popularity reached an early peak during this period, as the beat generation and early followers of psychedelia embraced him.
Regularly for the next year and a half and intermittently for another half-decade afterwards , Sun Ra and company performed at Slug's for audiences that eventually came to include music critics and notable jazz musicians. Opinions of Sun Ra's music were divided and hecklers were not uncommon.
High praise, however, came from two of the architects of bebop. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie offered encouragement, once stating, "Keep it up, Sonny, they tried to do the same shit to me,"  and pianist Thelonious Monk chided someone who said Sun Ra was "too far out" by responding, "Yeah, but it swings.
Despite their planned management of money, the costs of New York eventually became too high and motivated the group to move to Philadelphia. In , when the New York building they were renting was put up for sale, Sun Ra and the Arkestra relocated to the Germantown section of Philadelphia.
Sun Ra got a house on Morton Street that became the Arkestra's base of operations until his death. Apart from occasional complaints about the noise of rehearsals, they were soon regarded as good neighbors because of their friendliness, drug-free living, and rapport with youngsters.
The saxophonist Danny RayThompson owned and operated the Pharaoh's Den, a convenience store in the neighborhood. When lightning struck a tree on their street, Sun Ra took it as a good omen. James Jacson fashioned the Cosmic Infinity Drum from the scorched tree trunk. They commuted via railroad to New York for the Monday night gig at Slug's and for other engagements.
Sun Ra became a fixture in Philadelphia, appearing semi-regularly on WXPN radio, giving lectures to community groups, or visiting the city's libraries. In the mids, the Arkestra sometimes played free Saturday afternoon concerts in a Germantown park near their home.
At their mids shows in Philadelphia nightclubs, someone stood at the back of the room, selling stacks of unmarked LPs in plain white sleeves, pressed from recordings of the band's live performances. Reactions were mixed. Hippies accustomed to long-form psychedelia like the Grateful Dead were often bewildered by the Arkestra. Sun Ra was featured on the April 19, cover of Rolling Stone magazine, which introduced his inscrutable gaze to millions.
During this tour, Damon Choice, then an art student at San Jose, joined the Arkestra and became its vibraphonist. Starting with concerts in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in , the Arkestra began to tour internationally. They played to audiences who had known his music only through records. Sun Ra continued playing in Europe to nearly the end of his life. The saxophonist Danny Thompson became a de facto tour and business manager during this era, specializing in what he called "no bullshit C.
One half-hour of each class was devoted to a lecture complete with handouts and homework assignments , the other half-hour to an Arkestra performance or Sun Ra keyboard solo. He returned to Egypt in and , when he recorded with Ragab.
It was filmed in Oakland and San Francisco. A show concert by the Arkestra in Cleveland featured an early lineup of Devo as the opening act. In New York City in the fall of , Sun Ra and the Arkestra played as the "house band" at the Squat Theatre on 23rd Street, which was notorious as the performance venue of the avant-garde Hungarian theater troupe. Janos, their manager, transformed the theater into a nightclub while most of the troupe was away that season performing in Europe.
Sun Ra was disciplined and drank only club soda at the gigs, but did not impose his strict code on his musicians. They respected his discipline and authority. Soft-spoken and charismatic, Sun Ra turned Squat Theater into a universe of big band "space" jazz backed by a floor show of sexy Jupiterettes.
He directed while playing three synthesizers at the same time. Sun Ra had a stroke in , but kept composing, performing, and leading the Arkestra. Late in his career, he opened a few concerts for the New York—based rock group Sonic Youth. When too ill to perform and tour, Sun Ra appointed Gilmore to lead the Arkestra.
Gilmore was frail from emphysema ; after his death, Allen took over leadership of the Arkestra. In late , Sun Ra returned to his birth city of Birmingham to live with his older sister, Mary Jenkins, who along with various Blount cousins became his caretaker.
In January, he was admitted to Princeton Baptist Medical Center, suffering from congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, strokes, circulatory problems, and other serious maladies. Following Gilmore's death in , the group has performed under the direction of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen. In the summer of the Arkestra became the first American jazz band to perform in Tuva , in southern Siberia, where they played five sets at the Ustuu-Huree Festival.
As of July , the Arkestra continues to tour and perform. In September they played for 7 days in a row at the ZXZW festival, each day emphasizing different aspects of the musical legacy of Sun Ra. In , they performed at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art in conjunction with an exhibition that explored the intersection of the Arkestra's performing legacy and the practice of contemporary art.
Sun Ra's piano technique touched on many styles: his youthful fascination with boogie woogie , stride piano and blues , a sometimes refined touch reminiscent of Count Basie or Ahmad Jamal , and angular phrases in the style of Thelonious Monk or brutal, percussive attacks like Cecil Taylor.
Often overlooked is the range of influences from classical music — Sun Ra cited Chopin , Rachmaninoff , Schoenberg and Shostakovich as his favorite composers for the piano. As a synthesizer and electric keyboard player, Sun Ra ranks among one of the earliest and most radical pioneers. By the mids, he used a variety of electric keyboards, and almost immediately, he exploited their potential perhaps more than anyone, sometimes modifying them himself to produce sounds rarely if ever heard before.
His live albums from the late s and early s feature some of the noisiest, most bizarre keyboard work ever recorded. Sun Ra's music can be roughly divided into three phases, but his records and performances were full of surprises and the following categories should be regarded only as approximations.
The first period occurred in the s when Sun Ra's music evolved from big band swing into the outer-space-themed "cosmic jazz" for which he was best known.
Music critics and jazz historians say some of his best work was recorded during this period and it is also some of his most accessible music. Sun Ra's music in this era was often tightly arranged and sometimes reminiscent of Duke Ellington 's, Count Basie's, or other important swing music ensembles.
However, there was a strong influence from post-swing styles like bebop , hard bop , and modal jazz , and touches of the exotic and hints of the experimentalism that dominated his later music. Ronnie Boykins , Sun Ra's bassist, has been described as "the pivot around which much of Sun Ra's music revolved for eight years. Michael Arnold. Waldo Jeffers. Warsaw Cubicle. Roger Hartley. Steven Miles. Yuriy Mokrousov. Ryan Sarno. Dave Eldridge. Matthew Perpetua. Packaged in a lovely six-panel gatefold card case.
Includes unlimited streaming of Sleeping Beauty. Purchasable with gift card. Sold Out. Springtime Again Door Of The Cosmos Sleeping Beauty Materials include catalogs, clippings, press releases, handbills, broadsides, advertising copy, radio playlists, drafts of track listings and liner notes, and production notes.
Subseries 2: Discographies, is organized chronologically by document date. This subseries contains discographies compiled by researchers of Sun Ra's work, as well as by Alton Abraham. Discographies are in the form of notes, lists, photocopied articles and printouts of computer files. Oversize broadsides and posters, as well as a binder for the discography by Tilman Stahl, have been transferred to Series X: Subseries 3.
Sample album jackets and other material related to album cover design are in Series IX. This series contains manuscripts of Sun Ra's music writing. Also included are music manuscripts prepared by others, and copies of original manuscripts.
There are arrangements, compositions, sketches, lyrics, notes and fragmentary music notations. Peripheral material of Sun Ra and Alton Abraham, such as correspondence and notes, is also retained with the manuscripts, though it is not always related. Most manuscripts are undated, but generally range from the ss. Subseries 1: Sun Ra Manuscripts, contains Sun Ra's manuscripts of his own music, as well as his arrangements of jazz standards.
There are holograph manuscripts as well as copies that Sun Ra used to document copyright. Also included are untitled and fragmentary works, and a notebook containing a variety of Sun Ra's music writings. Some manuscripts may represent versions of Sun Ra's works that were transcribed by others, or works on which Sun Ra collaborated with others. Materials are organized by size. Manuscripts consisting primarily of lyrics and other verse writings are in Series V. This series contains manuscripts, proofs, broadsides, pamphlets, notebooks and books by Sun Ra.
Correspondence of Sun Ra is retained with many of his writings. This series is organized alphabetically by title, subject or format.
One distinctive group of material is a collection of notebooks kept by Sun Ra and Alton Abraham. These contain a variety of content such as numerological figures, sketches, notes, and drafts of verse and prose.
This series also contains several files related to The Immeasurable Equation, two volumes of Sun Ra's verse: This material includes manuscripts, proofs, sample copies and cover stock. There are other verse compilations including the unpublished The Magic Lie. Also of note are circa ss typescripts and broadsides in which Sun Ra articulated his beliefs during a formative part of his career.
Oversize proof sheets of pages of the Immeasurable Equation have been transferred to Series X: Subseries 4. Written music, including music with lyrics, is in Series IV. This series contains records of the business operations of Saturn Records and other endeavors managed by Alton Abraham in collaboration with Sun Ra and others. The bulk of this material was kept by Alton Abraham, though he may have collected some items from Sun Ra, John Gilmore and others.
Alton Abraham's businesses operated under many different names and iterations. Business names are given as documented on items. Files are organized chronologically, with undated material at the end of the series. Materials date from , but relate mainly to business activities from the late s through the mids. In addition to material related to the management of Sun Ra and members of the Arkestra, this series also documents Abraham's involvement with other performers and work as a dealer in occult books.
Material in this series includes legal agreements on matters such as recording, performance, record distribution and promotion; business forms and stationery; financial records, such as statements, invoices, reports, and receipts; ephemera, such as catalogs, broadsides, handbills, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional material; and instructional books and pamphlets related to music recording and production.
General correspondence includes business mail, promotional material, customer orders and fan mail. Also included are notebooks kept by Alton Abraham: these contain a variety of content, including contact lists; draft promotional copy; notes on recordings and performances; and notes on personal matters.
Oversize financial records, correspondence, publicity material, notes and blank legal forms have been transferred to Series X: Subseries 5.
H Goldsmith and V. Clarin, correspondence and promotional material, circa This series documents Alton Abraham's education, employment, personal life, and outside interests. Alphabetical order. Stuff to listen to by JamesMarkovitc. Sun Ra Collection by Steven-Hartka. Favourites by NTU Reissues of by NTU Best by Dubai-Bunnies.
The Magic City. The Shadow World. Abstract Eye. Abstract "I".The Magic City is an aural snapshot of that metamorphic process. Many enthusiasts and scholars consider this to be among Ra 's most definitive studio recordings. Although the "city" in the album's title was thought to have been New York -- where the disc was recorded -- it is actually Ra 's earthly birthplace of Birmingham, AL.8/