Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra; May 22,
1914 – May 30, 1993) was an American jazz composer, bandleader,
piano and synthesizer player, and poet known for his experimental
music, "cosmic" philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical
performances. For much of his career, Ra led "The Arkestra", an
ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up.
Born and raised in Alabama, Blount eventually became involved in the
Chicago jazz scene during the 1940s. He soon abandoned his birth name,
taking the name
Sun Ra (after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun) and
developing a complex persona and mythology that would make him a
pioneer of Afrofuturism: he claimed he was an alien from
Saturn on a
mission to preach peace, and throughout his life he consistently
denied any ties to his prior identity. His widely eclectic and
avant-garde music would eventually touch on virtually the entire
history of jazz, ranging from swing music and bebop to free jazz and
fusion, and his compositions ranged from keyboard solos to big bands
of over 30 musicians. From the mid-1950s until his death, Ra led the
musical collective The Arkestra (which featured artists such as
Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and
June Tyson throughout its various
iterations). Its performances often included dancers and musicians
dressed in elaborate, futuristic costumes inspired by ancient Egyptian
attire and the Space Age.
Though his mainstream success was limited,
Sun Ra was a prolific
recording artist and frequent live performer, and remained both
influential and controversial throughout his life for his music and
persona. He is now widely considered an innovator; among his
distinctions are his pioneering work in free improvisation and modal
jazz and his early use of electronic keyboards and synthesizers.
Over the course of his career, he recorded dozens of singles and over
one hundred full-length albums, comprising well over 1000 songs,
making him one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th
century. Following Sun Ra's death in 1993, the Arkestra continues
1.1 Early life
1.2 Early professional career and college
1.3 Trip to Saturn
1.4 New devotion to music (late 1930s)
1.5 Draft and wartime experiences
Chicago years (1945–61)
1.7 New York years (1961–68)
Philadelphia years (1968)
1.9 California and world tours (1968–93)
2 The Arkestra
3.2 New York phase
3.5 Outer Space Visual Communicator
Sun Ra and black culture
5 Influence and legacy
6 Exhibit and Material at the University of Chicago
12 External links
He was born Herman Blount on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama, as
discovered by his biographer, John F. Szwed, and published in his 1998
book. He was named after the popular vaudeville stage magician Black
Herman, who had deeply impressed his mother. He was nicknamed "Sonny"
from his childhood, had an older sister and half-brother, and was
doted upon by his mother and grandmother.
For decades, very little was known about Sun Ra's early life, and he
contributed to its obscurity. As a self-invented person, he routinely
gave evasive, contradictory or seemingly nonsensical answers to
personal questions, and denied his birth name. He speculated, only
half in jest, that he was distantly related to Elijah Poole, later
famous as Elijah Muhammed, leader of the Nation of Islam. His birthday
for years remained unknown, as he claimed it for years ranging from
1910 to 1918. Only a few years before his death, the date of Sun Ra's
birth was still a mystery. Jim Macnie's notes for
Blue Delight (1989)
Sun Ra was believed to be about 75 years old. But Szwed
was able to uncover a wealth of information about his early life and
confirmed a birth date of May 22, 1914.
As a child, Herman was a skilled pianist. By the age of 11 or 12, he
was composing  and sight reading music. Birmingham was an important
stop for touring musicians. He saw famous musicians such as Fletcher
Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller, along with others who were
quite talented but never made the big time.
Sun Ra once said, "The
world let down a lot of good musicians".
In his teenage years, Blount demonstrated prodigious musical talent:
many times, according to acquaintances, he went to big band
performances and then produced full transcriptions of the bands' songs
from memory. By his mid-teens, Blount was performing
semi-professionally as a solo pianist, or as a member of various ad
hoc jazz and R&B groups. He attended Birmingham's segregated
Industrial High School (now known as Parker High School), where he
studied under music teacher John T. "Fess" Whatley, a demanding
disciplinarian who was widely respected and whose classes produced
many professional musicians.
Though deeply religious, his family was not formally associated with
any Christian church or sect. Blount had few or no close friends in
high school but was remembered as kind-natured and quiet, an honor
roll student, and a voracious reader. He took advantage of the Black
Masonic Lodge as one of the few places in Birmingham where African
Americans had unlimited access to books. Its collection on Freemasonry
and other esoteric concepts made a strong impression on him.
By his teens, Blount suffered from cryptorchidism. It left him with
a nearly constant discomfort that sometimes flared into severe pain.
Szwed suggests that Blount felt shame about it and the condition
contributed to his isolation.
Early professional career and college
In 1934 Blount was offered his first full-time musical job by Ethel
Harper—his biology teacher from the high school, who had organized a
band to pursue a career as a singer. Blount joined a musicians' trade
union and toured with Harper's group through the US Southeast and
Midwest. When Harper left the group mid-tour to move to New York (she
later was a member of the modestly successful singing group the Ginger
Snaps), Blount took over leadership of the group, renaming it the
Sonny Blount Orchestra. They continued touring for several months
before dissolving as unprofitable. Though the first edition of the
Sonny Blount Orchestra was not financially successful, they earned
positive notice from fans and other musicians. Blount afterward found
steady employment as a musician in Birmingham.
Birmingham clubs often featured exotic trappings, such as vivid
lighting and murals with tropical or oasis scenes. Some believe these
influenced the elements
Sun Ra incorporated in his later stage shows.
Playing for the big bands gave black musicians a sense of pride and
togetherness, and they were highly regarded in the black community.
They were expected to be disciplined and presentable, and in the
segregated South, black musicians had wide acceptance in white
society. They often played for elite white society audiences (though
they were typically forbidden from associating with the audience).
In 1936, Whatley's intercession led to Blount's being awarded a
Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. He was
a music education major, studying composition, orchestration, and
music theory. He dropped out after a year.
Trip to Saturn
Sun Ra soon left college because, he claimed, he had a visionary
experience as a college student that had a major, long-term influence
on him. In 1936 or 1937, in the midst of deep religious concentration,
Sun Ra claimed that a bright light appeared around him, and, as he
My whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself.
And I went up... I wasn't in human form... I landed on a planet that I
identified as Saturn... they teleported me and I was down on [a] stage
with them. They wanted to talk with me. They had one little antenna on
each ear. A little antenna over each eye. They talked to me. They told
me to stop [attending college] because there was going to be great
trouble in schools... the world was going into complete chaos... I
would speak [through music], and the world would listen. That's what
they told me.
Sun Ra said that this experience occurred in 1936 or 1937. According
to Szwed, the musician's closest associates cannot date the story any
earlier than 1952. (
Sun Ra also said that the incident happened when
he was living in Chicago, where he did not settle until the late
Sun Ra discussed the vision, with no substantive variation, to
the end of his life. His trip to
Saturn allegedly occurred a full
decade before flying saucers entered public consciousness with the
1947 encounter of Kenneth Arnold. It was earlier than other public
accounts: about 15 years before
George Adamski wrote about
contact with benevolent beings; and almost 20 years before the
1961 case of Barney and Betty Hill, who recounted sinister UFO
abductions. Szwed says that, "even if this story is revisionist
autobiography... Sonny was pulling together several strains of his
life. He was both prophesizing his future and explaining his past with
a single act of personal mythology."
New devotion to music (late 1930s)
After leaving college, Blount became known as the most singularly
devoted musician in Birmingham. He rarely slept, citing Thomas Edison,
Leonardo da Vinci, and
Napoleon as fellow highly productive
cat-nappers. He transformed the first floor of his family's home into
a conservatory-workshop, where he wrote songs, transcribed recordings,
rehearsed with the many musicians who drifted in and out, and
discussed Biblical and esoteric concepts with whoever was
Blount became a regular at Birmingham's Forbes Piano Company, a
white-owned company. Blount visited the Forbes building almost daily
to play music, swap ideas with staff and customers, or copy sheet
music into his notebooks. He formed a new band, and like his old
teacher Whatley, insisted on rigorous daily rehearsals. The new Sonny
Blount Orchestra earned a reputation as an impressive, disciplined
band that could play in a wide variety of styles with equal skill.
Draft and wartime experiences
In October 1942 Blount received a selective service notification that
he had been drafted into the Military of the United States. He quickly
declared himself a conscientious objector, citing religious objections
to war and killing, his financial support of his great-aunt Ida, and
his chronic hernia. The local draft board rejected his claim. In an
appeal to the national draft board, Blount wrote that the lack of
black men on the draft appeal board "smacks of Hitlerism." Sonny's
refusal to join the military deeply embarrassed his family, and many
relatives ostracized him. He was eventually approved for alternate
Civilian Public Service
Civilian Public Service camp in Pennsylvania—but he did
not appear at the camp as required on December 8, 1942. Shortly after,
he was arrested in Alabama.
In court, Blount said that alternate service was unacceptable; he
debated the judge on points of law and Biblical interpretation. Though
sympathetic, the judge ruled that Blount was violating the law and was
at risk for being drafted into the U.S. military. Blount responded
that if inducted, he would use military weapons and training to kill
the first high-ranking military officer possible. The judge sentenced
Blount to jail (pending draft board and CPS rulings), and then said,
"I've never seen a nigger like you before." Blount replied, "No, and
you never will again."
In January 1943 Blount wrote to the United States Marshals Service
from the Walker County,
Alabama jail in Jasper. He said he was facing
a nervous breakdown from the stress of imprisonment, that he was
suicidal, and that he was in constant fear of sexual assault. When his
conscientious objector status was reaffirmed in February 1943, he was
escorted to Pennsylvania. He did forestry work as assigned during the
day and was allowed to play piano at night. Psychiatrists there
described him as "a psychopathic personality [and] sexually
perverted," but also as "a well-educated colored intellectual."
In March 1943, the draft board reclassified Blount as 4-F because of
his hernia, and he returned to Birmingham, embittered and angered. He
formed a new band and soon was playing professionally. After his
beloved great-aunt Ida died in 1945, Blount felt no reason to stay in
Birmingham. He dissolved the band, and moved to Chicago—part of the
Second Great Migration, southern African Americans who moved north
during and after World War II.
Chicago years (1945–61)
Chicago Blount quickly found work, notably with blues singer
Wynonie Harris, with whom he made his recording debut on two 1946
singles, Dig This Boogie/Lightning Struck the Poorhouse, and My Baby's
Barrelhouse/Drinking By Myself. Dig This Boogie was also Blount's
first recorded piano solo. He performed with the locally successful
Lil Green band and played bump-and-grind music for months in Calumet
City strip clubs.
In August 1946, Blount earned a lengthy engagement at the Club DeLisa
under bandleader and composer Fletcher Henderson. Blount had long
admired Henderson, but Henderson's fortunes were fading (his band was
now made of up middling musicians rather than the stars of earlier
years) in large part because of his instability, due to Henderson's
long term injuries from a car accident. Henderson hired Blount as
pianist and arranger, replacing Marl Young. Ra's arrangements
initially showed a degree of bebop influence, but the band members
resisted the new music, despite Henderson's encouragement.
In 1948, Blount performed briefly in a trio with saxophonist Coleman
Hawkins and violinist Stuff Smith, both preeminent swing-era
musicians. There are no known recordings of this trio, but a home
recording of a Blount-Smith duet from 1953 appears on Sound Sun
Pleasure, and one of Sun Ra's final recordings was a rare sideman
appearance on violinist Billy Bang's Tribute to Stuff Smith.
In addition to enabling professional advancement, what he encountered
Chicago changed Blount's personal outlook. The city was a center of
African-American political activism and fringe movements, with Black
Muslims, Black Hebrews, and others proselytizing, debating, and
printing leaflets or books. Blount absorbed it all and was fascinated
with the city's many ancient Egyptian-styled buildings and monuments.
He read books such as George G.M. James's Stolen Legacy (which argued
Greek philosophy had its roots in ancient Egypt).
Blount concluded that the accomplishments and history of Africans had
been systematically suppressed and denied by European cultures.
By 1952 Blount was leading the Space Trio with drummer Tommy "Bugs"
Hunter and saxophonist Pat Patrick, two of the most accomplished
musicians he had known. They performed regularly, and
Sun Ra began
writing more advanced songs.
On October 20, 1952, Blount legally changed his name to Le Sony'r Ra.
Sun Ra claimed to have always been uncomfortable with his birth
name of Blount. He considered it a slave name, from a family that was
not his. David Martinelli suggested that his change was similar to
Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali... [dropping] their slave names in the
process of attaining a new self-awareness and self-esteem".
Patrick left the group to move to Florida with his new wife. His
friend John Gilmore (tenor sax) joined the group, and Marshall Allen
(alto sax) soon followed. Patrick was in and out of the group until
the end of his life, but Allen and Gilmore were the two most devoted
members of the Arkestra. In fact, Gilmore is often criticized for
Sun Ra for over forty years when he demonstrated the
talent to have been a strong leader in his own right. Saxophonist
James Spaulding and trombonist
Julian Priester also recorded with Sun
Ra in Chicago, and both went on to careers of their own. The Chicago
Von Freeman also did a short stint with the band of the early
Sun Ra met Alton Abraham, a precociously intelligent
teenager and something of a kindred spirit. He became the Arkestra's
biggest booster and one of Sun Ra's closest friends. Both men felt
like outsiders and shared an interest in fringe esoterica. Abraham's
strengths balanced Ra's shortcomings: though he was a disciplined
Sun Ra was somewhat introverted and lacked business sense
(a trait that haunted his entire career). Abraham was outgoing,
well-connected, and practical. Though still a teenager, Abraham
eventually became Sun Ra's de facto business manager: he booked
performances, suggested musicians for the Arkestra, and introduced
several popular songs into the group's repertoire. Ra, Abraham and
others formed a sort of book club to trade ideas and discuss the
offbeat topics that so intrigued them. This group printed a number of
pamphlets and broadsides explaining their conclusions and ideas. Some
of these were collected by critic John Corbett and Anthony Elms as The
Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner
In the mid-1950s,
Sun Ra and Abraham formed an independent record
label that was generally known as El
Saturn Records. (It had several
name variations.) Initially focused on 45 rpm singles by
Sun Ra and
artists related to him,
Saturn Records issued two full-length albums
during the 1950s: Super-Sonic
Jazz (1957) and
Jazz In Silhouette
(1959). Producer Tom Wilson was the first to release a
Sun Ra album,
through his independent label Transition Records in 1957, entitled
Jazz by Sun Ra. During this era,
Sun Ra recorded the first of
dozens of singles as a band-for-hire backing a range of doo wop and
R&B singers; several dozen of these were reissued in a two-CD set,
The Singles, by Evidence Records.
In the late 1950s,
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.)
New York years (1961–68)
Sun Ra and the Arkestra moved to
New York City
New York City in the fall of 1961. To
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. Despite their planned management of
money, the costs of New York eventually became too high and motivated
the group to move to Philadelphia. However, it was during this time in
New York that
Sun Ra recorded the album The
Futuristic Sound of Sun
In March 1966 the Arkestra secured a regular Monday night gig at
Slug's Saloon. 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.
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."
Philadelphia years (1968)
In 1968, when the New York building they were renting was put up for
Sun Ra and the Arkestra relocated to the Germantown section of
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 mid-1970s, the Arkestra sometimes played free
Saturday afternoon concerts in a Germantown park near their home. At
their mid-1970s 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.
California and world tours (1968–93)
In late 1968
Sun Ra and the Arkestra made their first tour of the US
West Coast. Reactions were mixed. Hippies accustomed to long-form
psychedelia like the
Grateful Dead were often bewildered by the
Arkestra. By this time, the performance included
20–30 musicians, dancers, singers, fire-eaters, and elaborate
lighting. John Burks of
Rolling Stone wrote a positive review of a San
Jose State College concert.
Sun Ra was featured on the April 19, 1969
cover of the 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
1970, 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.O.D.," preferring to take cash before performing or delivering
In early 1971,
Sun Ra was appointed as artist-in-residence at
University of California, Berkeley, teaching a course called The Black
Man In the Cosmos. Few students enrolled, but his classes were
often full of curious people from the surrounding community. One
half-hour of each class was devoted to a lecture (complete with
handouts and homework assignments), the other half-hour to an Arkestra
Sun Ra keyboard solo. Reading lists included the works
Madame Blavatsky and Henry Dumas, the Tibetan Book of the Dead,
Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, The Book of Oahspe, and assorted
volumes concerning Egyptian hieroglyphs,
African American folklore,
and other topics.
Sun Ra traveled throughout Egypt with the Arkestra at the
invitation of the drummer Salah Ragab. He returned to Egypt in 1983
and 1984, when he recorded with Ragab. Recordings made in Egypt were
released as Live in Egypt, Nidhamu,
Sun Ra Meets Salah Ragab, Egypt
Strut and Horizon.
San Francisco public TV station KQED producer John Coney,
producer Jim Newman, and screenwriter Joshua Smith worked with Sun Ra
to produce an 85-minute feature film, entitled Space Is the Place,
with Sun Ra's Arkestra and an ensemble of actors assembled by the
production team. It was filmed in
Oakland and San Francisco. On May
Sun Ra and the Arkestra appeared on the TV show Saturday
New York City
New York City in the fall of 1979,
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. Debbie Harry, "The Velvet Underground"'s
John Cale and Nico
(from Andy Warhol's Factory days),
John Lurie and 'The Lounge
Lizards', and other pop and avant-garde musicians were regulars. 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. In those days, "Space Is The Place" was
the space at Squat.
The Arkestra continued their touring and recording through the 1980s
and into the 1990s.
Sun Ra had a stroke in 1990, 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
Sun Ra appointed Gilmore to lead the Arkestra. (Gilmore was
frail from emphysema; after his death, Allen took over leadership of
Sun Ra returned to Birmingham to see his sister, whom he had rarely
seen in nearly 40 years. He contracted pneumonia and died in
Birmingham on May 30, 1993. He was buried at the Elmwood Cemetery.
According to the hospital, he had also been affected by circulatory
system problems and numerous strokes shortly before his death. The
small footstone reads "Herman Sonny Blount aka Le Sony'r Ra".
Sun Ra Arkestra performing in London in 2010.
Following Sun Ra's death, the Arkestra was led by tenor saxophonist
John Gilmore. Following Gilmore's death in 1995, the group has
performed under the direction of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen. A
1999 album led by Allen, Song for the Sun, featured
Jimmy Hopps and
Dick Griffin. In the summer of 2004 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 2017, the Arkestra continues to tour and perform. In
September 2008 they played for 7 days in a row at the
each day emphasizing different aspects of the musical legacy of Sun
Ra. In 2009, 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. In 2011 they ventured to Australia for the first
time, for the 2011 Melbourne International
Jazz Festival and MONA
(Museum of Old and New Art) in Tasmania. More recently in 2017, the
Arkestra performed at the 31st
Lowell Folk Festival
Lowell Folk Festival in Lowell
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 mid-1950s, 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 1960s and early 1970s 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 1950s 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. Notable
Sun Ra albums from the 1950s
Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth, Interstellar Low Ways, Super-Sonic
Jazz, We Travel the Space Ways,
The Nubians of Plutonia
The Nubians of Plutonia and
Ronnie Boykins, Sun Ra's bassist, has been described as "the pivot
around which much of Sun Ra's music revolved for eight years." This is
especially pronounced on the key recordings from 1965 (The Magic City,
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One, and The Heliocentric
Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume Two) where the intertwining lines of Boykins'
bass and Ra's electronic keyboards provide cohesion.
New York phase
After the move to New York,
Sun Ra and company plunged headlong into
the experimentalism that they had only hinted at in Chicago. The music
was often extremely loud and the Arkestra grew to include multiple
drummers and percussionists. In recordings of this era, Ra began to
use new technologies—such as extensive use of tape delay—to
assemble spatial sound pieces that were far removed from earlier
compositions such as Saturn. Recordings and live performances often
featured passages for unusual instrumental combinations, and passages
of collective playing that incorporated free improvisation. It is
often difficult to tell where compositions end and improvisations
In this era,
Sun Ra began conducting using hand and body gestures.
This system inspired cornetist Butch Morris, who later developed his
own more highly refined way to conduct improvisers.
Though often associated with avant-garde jazz,
Sun Ra did not believe
his work could be classified as "free music": "I have to make sure
that every note, every nuance, is correct... If you want to call it
that, spell it p-h-r-e, because ph is a definite article and re is the
name of the sun. So I play phre music – music of the sun."
Seeking to broaden his compositional possibilities,
Sun Ra insisted
all band members double on various percussion instruments –
predating world music by drawing on various ethnic musical forms –
and most saxophonists became multireedists, adding instruments such as
flutes, oboes, or clarinets to their arsenals. In this era,
Sun Ra was
among the first of any musicians to make extensive and pioneering use
of synthesizers and other various electronic keyboards; he was given a
Minimoog by its inventor, Robert Moog. According to the Bob
Moog Foundation: "
Sun Ra first met
Robert Moog after Downbeat
Sun Ra acquaintance
Tam Fiofori arranged for a visit to
Moog’s factory in
Trumansburg in the Fall of 1969....it was during
this visit that Moog loaned
Sun Ra a prototype
Minimoog (Model B),
several months before the commercial instrument (Model D) was
introduced in March 1970. Ra immediately added the instrument to his
repertoire of keyboards, later acquired a second, and featured the
Minimoog prominently on many of his recordings of the early
Notable titles from this period include The Magic City, Cosmic Tones
for Mental Therapy, When Sun Comes Out, The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun
Ra, Volume One, Atlantis,
Secrets of the Sun
Secrets of the Sun and Other Planes of
During their third period, beginning in the 1970s,
Sun Ra and the
Arkestra settled down into a relatively conventional sound, often
incorporating swing standards, although their records and concerts
were still highly eclectic and energetic, and typically included at
least one lengthy, semi-improvised percussion jam.
Sun Ra was
explicitly asserting a continuity with the ignored jazz tradition:
"They tried to fool you, now I got to school you, about jazz, all
about jazz" he rapped, framing the inclusion of pieces by Fletcher
Henderson and Jelly Roll Morton.
In the 1970s
Sun Ra took a liking to the films of Walt Disney. He
incorporated smatterings of Disney musical numbers into many of his
performances from then on. In the late 1980s the Arkestra performed a
Walt Disney World. The Arkestra's version of "Pink
Elephants on Parade" is available on Stay Awake, a tribute album of
Disney tunes played by various artists and produced by Hal Willner. A
number of Sun Ra's 1970s concerts are available on CD, but none have
received a wide release in comparison to his earlier music. The album
Atlantis can be considered the landmark that led into his 1970s
era. In 1978–80 performances,
Sun Ra added a large
electronic creation, the Outerspace Visual Communicator, which
produced images rather than sounds; this was performed at a keyboard
by its inventor, Bill Sebastian. During concerts, the OVC usually was
positioned at center stage behind the Arkestra while Sebastian sat on
stage with the musicians.
Dozens of musicians—perhaps hundreds—passed through Sun Ra's bands
over the years. Some stayed with him for decades, while others played
on only a few recordings or performances.
Sun Ra was personally responsible for the vast majority of the
constant changes in the Arkestra's lineup. According to contrabassist
Jiunie Booth, a member of the Arkestra,
Sun Ra did not confront any
musician whose performance he was unsatisfied with. Instead, he would
simply gather the entire Arkestra minus the offending musician, and
skip town—leaving the fired musician stranded. After repeated
instances of U.S. jazz musicians becoming stranded in foreign
countries, Sun Ra's unique method of dismissal became a diplomatic
liability for the United States. The U.S. State Department was
compelled to tell
Sun Ra to bring any fired musicians stateside rather
than leave them stranded.
The following is a partial list of musical collaborators, and the eras
when they played with
Sun Ra or the Arkestra:
Yahya Abdul-Majid, tenor saxophone (1980–present)
Luqman Ali, drums
Marshall Allen, alto saxophone, flute, oboe (1957–present)
Knoel Scott, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone,
singer and dancer (1979–present)
Atakatune (Stanley Morgan), percussion (1972–1992)
Robert Barry, drums (1955–1968, 1979)
Ronnie Boykins, double bass (1957–1974)
Arthur "Jiunie" Booth, double bass
Darryl Brown, drums (1970–1972)
Owen "Fiidla" Brown, violin, dance, vocals (1987–1990s and later
Tony Bunn, electric bass (1976)
Francisco Mora Catlett, drums (1973–1980)
Don Cherry, pocket trumpet (1983–1990)
Damon Choice, vibraphone (late 1960s–1990s)
Phil Cohran, trumpet (1959–1961)
India Cooke, violin (1990s)
Danny Davis, alto saxophone, flute (1962–1977, 1985)
Joey DeStefano, alto saxophone (1968–1969)
Arthur Doyle, saxophone
Bruce Edwards guitar (1983–1993,)
Eddie Gale, trumpet (1960s)
John Gilmore, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet (1954–1964,
Tommy "Bugs" Hunter, drums, sound engineer
Ahmed Abdullah, trumpet, (1976 – 1993 )
James Jacson, bassoon, oboe, flute, Ancient Egyptian infinity drum
Clifford Jarvis, drums, (1961–76, 1983)
Donald Jones, drums (1973–1974)
Wayne Kramer, guitar (2006)
Elson Nascimento, percussion, vocals (1987–present)
Bob Northern, french horn
Eloe Omoe, bass clarinet, oboe
John Ore, double bass
Taylor Richardson, guitar (1979–1983)
Pat Patrick, baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet, flute
(1950–1959, 1961–1977, 1985–1988)
Julian Priester, trombone (1955–1956, 1980s–1990s)
Rollo Radford, bass
Buster Smith, drums
Marvin Bugalu Smith, drums
Michael Ray, trumpet (1978–present)
Pharoah Sanders, saxophone (1964–1965)
Bill Sebastian, outerspace visual communicator (1978–1980)
Talvin Singh, tablas
Alan Silva, double bass, cello, violin (early 1970s)
Tani Tabbal, drums
Clifford Thornton, trombone
June Tyson, singer, violin
Outer Space Visual Communicator
The OVC was a giant machine, played with hands and feet, that allowed
artists to create and finger-paint with light similar to how musicians
create and explore sound with their instruments.The name of the
instrument arose from Bill Sebastian's collaboration with Sun Ra. Sun
Ra incorporated the OVC into the Arkestra from 1978-1980 and
experimented with Bill on video applications from 1981 to 1987. This
video of Calling Planet Earth is one of those video experiments as is
this video of Sunset on the River Nile. John Bishop, of Video
Magazine, stated of the OVC that "the emotional energy of the visuals
equals and at times surpasses that of the music. The images are not
slaves to the sounds but function the way a dancer does; interpreting,
harmonizing, and enlarging the space created by the music." (John
Bishop, Video Magazine) Contemporary OVC-3D compositions from Bill
continue to utilize the music of
Sun Ra and rely on his inspiration,
as in this clip from Aethiopia
  
Sun Ra's world view was often described as a philosophy, but he
rejected this term, describing his own manner as an "equation" and
saying that while philosophy was based on theories and abstract
reasoning, his method was based on logic and pragmatism. Many of the
Arkestra cite Sun Ra's teachings as pivotal and for inspiring such
long-term devotion to the music that they knew would never make them
much money. His equation was rarely (if ever) explained as a whole;
instead, it was related in bits and pieces over many years, leading
some to doubt that he had a coherent message. However, Martinelli
argues that, when considered as a whole, one can discern a unified
world view that draws upon many sources, but is also unique to Sun Ra,
Sun Ra presents a unified conception, incorporating music, myth, and
performance into his multi-leveled equations. Every aspect of the Sun
Ra experience, from business practices like
Saturn Records to
published collections of poetry to his 35-year career in music, is a
manifestation of his equations.
Sun Ra seeks to elevate humanity
beyond their current earthbound state, tied to outmoded conceptions of
life and death when the potential future of immortality awaits them.
As Hall has put it, "In this era of 'practical' things men ridicule
even the existence of God. They scoff at goodness while they ponder
with befuddled minds the phantasmagoria of materiality. They have
forgotten the path which leads beyond the stars."
He drew on sources as diverse as the Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism,
channeling, numerology, Freemasonry, Ancient Egyptian Mysticism, and
black nationalism. Sun Ra's system had distinct
arguing that the god of most monotheistic religions was not the
creator god, not the ultimate god, but a lesser, evil being. Sun Ra
was wary of the Bible, knowing that it had been used to justify
slavery. He often re-arranged and re-worded Biblical passages (and
re-worked many other words, names, or phrases) in an attempt to
uncover "hidden" meanings. The most obvious evidence of this system
was Ra's practice of renaming many of the musicians who played with
Bassoonist/multireedist James Jacson had studied
Zen Buddhism before
Sun Ra and identified strong similarities between Zen
teachings and practices (particularly Zen koans) and Ra's use of non
sequiturs and seemingly absurd replies to questions. Drummer Art
Jenkins admitted that Sun Ra's "nonsense" sometimes troubled his
thoughts for days until inspiring a sort of paradigm shift, or
profound change in outlook. Drummer
Andrew Cyrille said Sun Ra's
comments were "very interesting stuff... whether you believed it or
not. And a lot of times it was humorous, and a lot of times it was
ridiculous, and a lot of times it was right on the money."
Some of Sun Ra's songs with words featured lyrics that although
simple, were inspirational and philosophical. The most famous example
was "Space Is the Place!" Another example was the song that went, "You
made a mistake. You did something wrong. Make another mistake, and do
something right!" Sometimes (typically at the end of a set) the entire
Arkestra snaked out through the audience, playing and chanting
something like this.
Sun Ra and black culture
According to Szwed, Sun Ra's view of his relationship to black
people and black cultures "changed drastically" over time. Initially,
Sun Ra identified closely with broader struggles for black power,
black political influence, and black identity, and saw his own music
as a key element in educating and liberating blacks. But by the heyday
Black Power radicalism in the 1960s,
Sun Ra was expressing
disillusionment with these aims. He denied feeling closely connected
to any race. In 1970 he said:
I couldn't approach black people with the truth because they like
lies. They live lies... At one time I felt that white people were to
blame for everything, but then I found out that they were just puppets
and pawns of some greater force, which has been using them... Some
force is having a good time [manipulating black and white people] and
looking, enjoying itself up in a reserved seat, wondering, "I wonder
when they're going to wake up."
Sun Ra is considered to be an early pioneer of the Afrofuturist
movement due to his music, writings and other works.
The influence of
Sun Ra can be seen throughout many aspects of black
music. He grounded his practice of
Afrofuturism in a musical tradition
of performing blackness that remains relevant today.
Sun Ra lived out
his beliefs of
Afrofuturism in his daily life by embodying the
movement not only in his music, but also in his clothes and actions.
This embodiment of the narrative allowed him to demonstrate black
nationalism as a counternarrative to the present culture. It was in
Chicago, as well, in the mid-fifties, that Ra began experimenting with
extraterrestriality in his stage show, sometimes playing regular
cocktail lounges dressed in space suits and ancient Egyptian regalia.
By placing his band and performances in space and extraterrestrial
Sun Ra built a world that was his own view of how the
African diaspora connected.
Influence and legacy
Many of Sun Ra's innovations remain important and groundbreaking. Ra
was one of the first jazz leaders to use two double basses, to employ
the electric bass, to play electronic keyboards, to use extensive
percussion and polyrhythms, to explore modal music and to pioneer solo
and group freeform improvisations. In addition, he made his mark in
the wider cultural context: he proclaimed the African origins of jazz,
reaffirmed pride in black history and reasserted the spiritual and
mystical dimensions of music, all important factors in the black
cultural/political renaissance of the 1960s.
NRBQ recorded "Rocket #9" in 1968 for their debut album on Columbia.
Sun Ra had given NRBQ's Terry Adams a copy of the song on 45 and told
him, "This is especially for you," which Adams reported inspired him
to reform the band after a period of inactivity. The band still
includes Sun Ra's compositions in their performances, and besides
"Rocket #9" have released recordings of "We Travel the Spaceways" and
"Love in Outer Space." Several members of the Arkestra have toured
NRBQ over the years, including Pat Patrick, Marshall Allen, Knoel
Scott, Tyrone Hill and Danny Thompson. Adams has joined the Arkestra
as their pianist on several tours, most recently during a February
2016 tour of cities in the US southeast.
MC5 played a handful of shows with
Sun Ra and were
influenced by his works immensely. One of their songs from their
Kick Out the Jams
Kick Out the Jams featured a track called Starship,
which was based on a poem by Ra.
Sun Ra was inducted into the
Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979.
Sun Ra Repatriation Project was started in 2008 with the aim of
using interplanetary communication with a view to facilitating Sun
Ra's return to planet Earth.
Filmmaker and visual artist
Cauleen Smith has heavily researched the
life and legacy of Sun Ra. Her 2013 exhibition "17" "arises out of
[her] research into the legacy of Sun Ra, who was himself a student of
numerology and achieved a kind of cultural immortality the number 17
might be said to refer to". Her project "The Solar Flare Arkestral
Marching Band" includes several components related to Sun Ra. "One
component (2010) of the project is the production of five flash mob
street performances involving a marching band inspired by Sun Ra's
Arkestra. The second component of the project... is a full-length
video that chronicles the urban legends of Sun Ra’s time in Chicago
as well as the contemporary artists who live and work in this
Sun Ra Revival Post-Krautrock Archestra", formed in Australia
during 2014, paid tribute to Sun Ra's philosophies and musical ideas
within their albums Realm Beyond Realm and
Sun Ra Kills the World.
Exhibit and Material at the University of Chicago
The University of
Chicago has an extensive collection of Sun Ra's
works and personal items in the
Special Collections Research Center at
the Regenstein Library. The collection was assembled by Ra's business
Alton Abraham and is open to the public upon request. The
Special Collections Research Center has also repeatedly exhibited Sun
Ra's work. The latest exhibition was entitled Sounds from Tomorrow's
Sun Ra and the
Chicago Years 1946-1961.
Sun Ra discography
Space Is the Place
Space Is the Place (1974) is a feature-length film that stars Sun Ra
and his band as themselves. The soundtrack, also by Sun Ra, is
available on CD. The film follows
Sun Ra after he returns to Chicago
from many years of space travel with his Arkestra. In a meeting with
"the Overseer" – a devil-like figure stationed in the desert – Sun
Ra agrees to play a game of cards to "win" the black community. Sun
Ra's goal is to transport the American black community to a new planet
he discovered while on his journey, and that he hopes to use as a home
for an entirely black population. The artist's mission is to "teleport
the whole planet through music", but his attempts are often
misunderstood by his supposed converts.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra were the subject of a few documentary films,
including Robert Mugge's Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (1980). It
interspersed passages of performances and rehearsals with Sun Ra's
commentary on various subjects ranging from today's youth to his own
place in the cosmos. More recently, Don Letts'
Sun Ra – Brother from
Another Planet (2005) incorporated some of Mugge's material, and
includes some additional interviews. Points on a
Space Age (2009) is a
documentary by Ephrahaim Asili. "It's a 60-minute doc along
the lines of the talking-head-intercut-with performance clips
Sun Ra wrote an enormous number of songs and material regarding his
spiritual beliefs and music. A magazine titled
Sun Ra Research was
published irregularly for many years, providing extensive
documentation of Sun Ra's perspectives on many issues. Sun Ra's
collected poetry and prose is available as a book, published May 2005,
entitled Sun Ra, The Immeasurable Equation. Another book of over 260
of Sun Ra's poems, Sun Ra: Collected Works Vol. 1: Immeasurable
Equation was published by Phaelos Books in November 2005. The Wisdom
of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets,
was published in book form in 2005, by WhiteWalls. A collection of Sun
Ra's poetry, This Planet Is Doomed, was published by Kicks Books in
^ "The light still shines on Sun Ra". LA Times. Retrieved 6 December
^ Szwed, p. 83.
^ Wilson, Nancy; et al. "Sun Ra: 'Cosmic Swing'" (radio). NPR Jazz
Profiles. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
^ a b Yanow, Scott. "
Sun Ra – Music Biography, Credits and
Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
^ Szwed (1999): according to author Norman Mailer writing in 1956,
quoted on page 154: "a friend took me to hear a jazz musician named
Sun Ra who played 'space music'." According to
Sun Ra himself, also in
1956, quoted on page 384: "When I say space music, I'm dealing with
the void, because that is of space too... So I leave the word space
open, like space is supposed to be." On page 247, in an interview, Sun
Ra stated "sometimes when I'm playing for a band, playing space
music... I'm using ordinary instruments, but actually I'm using them
in a manner... transforming certain ideas over into a language which
the world can understand."
^ Szwed, John F. Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of
Sun Ra New
York: Pantheon, 1997. ISBN 978-0-679-43589-1; p. xvii
^ Szwed (1998), p. 12.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 17.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 10.
^ Szwed (1998), pp. 28–29.
^ Szwed (1998), pp. 30–31.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 33.
^ "Forbes Piano Company." Bhamwiki.com. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 43.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 44,
^ Szwed (1998), p. 46.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 4.
^ a b Martinelli, David A. (1991). "The Cosmic-Myth Equations of Sun
Ra". UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. Archived from the original on
2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
^ a b Meeder, Christopher. Jazz: the Basics. p. 148.
^ Litweiler, John (1984). The Freedom Principle:
Jazz after 1958. Da
Capo, p. 141. ISBN 0-306-80377-1
^ Campbell, Robert L., & Trent, Christopher. The Earthly
Recordings of Run Ra (2nd edition). Redwood, NY: Cadence
2000. ISBN 978-1-881993-35-3
^ Szwed (1997), p. 219.
^ Szwed (1997), p. 219; emphasis in original.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 273.
Sun Ra – Berkeley Lecture, 1971".
Sensitiveskinmagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
^ Westergaard, Sean. "Live in Egypt, Vol. 1 – Sun Ra : Songs,
Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
^ Loewy, Steve. "
Sun Ra Arkestra Meets
Salah Ragab in Egypt – Sun
Ra : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved
^ Planer, Lindsay (1971-12-17). "Horizon – Sun Ra : Songs,
Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
^ Watrous, Peter (1993-05-31). "Sun Ra, 79, Versatile
Jazz Artist; A
Pioneer with a Surrealist Bent". The New York Times. The New York
Times Company. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 382.
^ "Sun Ra". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
^ Schuman, Nicole (2004-10-14). "Scott balances careers as academic,
musician". University at Buffalo Reporter. University at Buffalo, The
State University of New York. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
^ "Pathways to Unknown Worlds". Icaphila.org. Retrieved
Lowell Folk Festival
Lowell Folk Festival 2017 Artist Lineup". lowellfolkfestival.org.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 28.
^ Doerschuk, Bob (January 1987). "Sun Ra". Keyboard. 13 (1): 65.
^ Thom Holmes, "
Sun Ra & the Minimoog", Bob Moog Foundation,
November 6, 2013.
^ Tam Fiofori, "Sun Ra: Myth, Music & Media", Glendora Review,
African Quarterly on the Arts, vol. 3, No. 3 and 4.
^ Kramer, Wayne (2006-10-23). "My Night as a Tone Scientist". The
Kramer Report. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
^ Hodgkinson, Will (8 June 2001). "Home entertainment: Talvin Singh".
The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
^ "The OVC". Visual Music Systems.
^ Sullivan, James (2013-04-02). "Inventor brings 3-D vision to music".
The Boston Globe.
^ "Bill Sebastian's Outer Space Visual Communicator". Video Circuits.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 297.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 385.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 387.
^ Szwed (1998), pp. 386–87.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 311.
^ Szwed (1998), p. 313.
^ Taylor-Stone, Chardine (7 January 2014). "Afrofuturism: where space,
pyramids and politics collide". Guardian. Retrieved 11 November
^ Corbett, John. "Brothers From Another Planet." Extended Play:
Sounding off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein. Durham: Duke UP, 1994.
N. pag. Print.
MC5 (1969). Kick Out The Jams. Elecktra.
^ ya Salaam, Kalamu. "The
Sun Ra Repatriation Project". Retrieved 18
^ "Cauleen Smith: 17 – Exhibitions – Hyde Park Art Center".
Hydeparkart.org. 2013-03-10. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
^ "The Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band is one component of a
project being produced by
Cauleen Smith as part of an
artist-in-residence at threewalls Gallery, Chicago. The Solar Flare
Arkestral Marching Band". Solarflareark.wordpress.com. 2012-01-12.
Sun Ra Revival Free Listening on SoundCloud". Soundcloud.com.
Sun Ra Revival Post Krautrock Archestra from Sydney".
Artisttrove.com. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
^ "Sun Ra". www.lib.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
^ a b DVD Review: Points on a
Space Age (MVD video) Side Shots Film
Blog, Identity Theory blog, May 2009
^ Points on a
Space Age on IMDb
Raschka, Chris. (2014). The Cosmo-Biography of Sun Ra: the Sound of
Joy is Enlightening. Candlewick Press.
Szwed, John F. (August 21, 1998). Space Is the Place: The Lives and
Times of Sun Ra. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80855-5.
Ra, Sun; Wolf, James L.; Geerken, Hartmut (September 1, 2006). Sun Ra:
The Immeasurable Equation: The Collected Poetry and Prose. Waitawhile.
Ra, Sun (August 1, 2006). Elms, Anthony; Corbett, John, eds. The
Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner
Leaflets. Chicago, Illinois: WhiteWalls.
Sun Ra Arkestra, Official site, under the direction of Marshall
Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of
Marshall Allen perform at the
Philadelphia ICA (July, 2009)
Space is the Place film, Outer Spaceways
1988 interview with Sun Ra
Sun Ra interview by Dennis Irving (also known as Denys Irving)
Sun Ra at Find a Grave
E.E. Forbes Piano Company
Chicago Period studio albums
Jazz by Sun Ra
Sound of Joy
Visits Planet Earth
The Nubians of Plutonia
Jazz in Silhouette
Sound Sun Pleasure!!
Interstellar Low Ways
Fate in a Pleasant Mood
Holiday for Soul Dance
Angels and Demons at Play
We Travel the Space Ways
New York Period studio albums
Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra
Bad and Beautiful
Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow
Secrets of the Sun
When Sun Comes Out
Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy
When Angels Speak of Love
Other Planes of There
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One
The Magic City
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume Two
Monorails and Satellites
Philadelphia Period studio albums
Space Is the Place
Space Is the Place (soundtrack)
Space Is The Place
Pathways to Unknown Worlds
Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue
Other Voices, Other Blues
Strange Celestial Road
Reflections in Blue
Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold
Nuits de la Fondation Maeght
It's After the End of the World
Black Myth/Out in Space
Live in Egypt 1
Live In Montreux
Live from Soundscape
Sunrise in Different Dimensions
Cosmo Omnibus Imagiable Illusion
Thunder of the Gods
ISNI: 0000 0003 6863 8759
BNF: cb139001848 (data)