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Sun Ra

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Birmingham AL, United States (1914 – 1993)

Sun Ra (1914– 1993) was an innovative jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesiser player, who came to be known as much for his Cosmic Afro-futurist Philosophy as for his phenomenal musical compositions and performances. As both a black male and an independent producer, Sun Ra defied racist institutions and beliefs.

Born on 22nd May 1914 as Herman Poole Blount, in Birmingham, Alabama, he was nicknamed “Sonny” from his youth. Later, after his release from a detention camp for protesting against World War II, he took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (after the ancient Egyptian sun god). He claimed that he was of the “Angel Race”, not from Earth but from Saturn. Some of his most notable influences were African and African-American theatre, theosophy, and masonic Afro-futurism. His interest in these art forms and principles led to the development of a complicated but consistent set of cosmic philosophies and lyrical poetry, which preached spiritual awareness and peace.

Sun Ra could play many modern and classical works from memory and had worked in country and western bands before moving to Chicago. His personal music collection contained over 10,000 discs, and he was constantly reviewing and studying. Many of his improvisational and compositional innovations were extensions of ideas from twentieth-century European composers. He is responsible for having brought these ideas into jazz decades before many commercial artists popularised the same methods.

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  • Exeio

    Just listened to Space is the Place, loved it

    23 Jul 9:43pm Reply
  • tati_bg

    ♥ !

    6 Jul 1:47am Reply
  • TastyDogChow

    His work had a lot of diversity - you could get peaceful works, eccentric works, somber works, and works that are so out of control it sounds like Steven Stapleton made it. He's got a huge discography but its full of wonderful music, it's very fun to work through and check out a Sun Ra album I haven't played yet.

    23 Jun 9:58am Reply
  • m1a100

    I agree with you, Tuntury. That's an amazing album indeed. One of my favorites from him.

    17 Jun 6:46pm Reply
  • Truja

    Now I know why jazz is

    29 May 11:56am Reply
  • Dosva

    Exemplary music from a meritorious mind.

    29 May 5:10am Reply
  • JamesBass

    @ColonyofMetal - Thanks! I enjoyed both albums, especially Futuristic Sounds.

    25 May 11:20am Reply
  • Tuntury

    "God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be" is a great jazz trio album with imposing rhythm sections. A hidden gem in Ra's discography.

    24 May 7:43am Reply
  • ColonyofMetal

    @JamesBass - Hey bud give futuristic sounds and jazz in silhouette a shot. Great albums.

    23 May 12:46pm Reply
  • ColonyofMetal

    Always fixes my brain after a hard weekend.

    22 May 2:12pm Reply
  • JamesBass

    Thinking about picking up a couple of Sun Ra records when I next get paid, where's best for a newbie like me to start? So far I have listened to Fireside Chat, Nubians, Space Is The Place and Night of the Purple Moon. I think out of those I enjoyed Fireside Chat and Space Is The Place the most, but those seem to be harder to find on vinyl unfortunately!

    22 May 12:24pm Reply
  • E-M-L

    One of the great things about Sun Ra is that the discography is virtually interminable. There is no definitive Sun Ra record, but that's not necessarily such a bad thing. You can get a giddy sense of mise en abyme when faced with the sheer size of it.

    16 May 11:33am Reply
  • toztizokzndz

    my top 50 sun ra albums (lol): black myth/out in space > heliocentric worlds, vol. 1 > the magic city > night of the purple moon > nothing is > secrets of the sun > cosmic tones for mental therapy > atlantis > the nubians of plutonia > space is the place > other planes of there > cosmos > interstellar low-ways > crystal spears > supersonic jazz > astro black > lanquidity > solar myth approach > angels and demons at play > pathways to unknown worlds > the futuristic sounds of > when angels speak of love > discipline 27-ii > fate in a pleasant mood > strange celestial road > jazz in silhouette > hiroshima > cosmo-earth fantasy > bad and beautiful > rose hue mansions of the sun > art forms of dimensions tomorrow > sleeping beauty > my brother the wind, vol. 2 > cymbals > we travel the spaceways > sub underground > live in montreux > mayan temples > disco 3000 > strange strings > other voices, other blues > the antique blacks > of mythic worlds > heliocentric worlds, vol 2 >

    14 May 5:44pm Reply
  • toztizokzndz

    nuclear war > universe in blue > outer spaceways incorporated > sunrise in different dimensions > other side of the sun

    14 May 5:44pm Reply
  • tourneur

    @toztizokzndz: thank you!

    1 May 5:33pm Reply
  • toztizokzndz

    @tourneur: the futuristic sounds of, supersonic jazz, instellar low-ways, we travel the spaceways, visits planet earth and fate in a pleasant mood

    1 May 9:35am Reply
  • holland1946

    SPACE IS THE PLACE

    29 Apr 2:51am Reply
  • tourneur

    Which records are similar to Angels And Demons At Play / The Nubians Of Plutonia?

    28 Apr 1:19pm Reply
  • ladidavid

    sun is big. ra is great.

    20 Feb 8:26pm Reply
  • VernonSlvn

    Autocorrection is incredibly retarded

    15 Feb 11:18am Reply
  • All 845 shouts

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