Sun Ra

Sun Ra



Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra;[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[4][5] 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.[6] Following Sun Ra's death in 1993, the Arkestra continues to perform.



Of Abstract Dreams
Of Abstract Dreams is an album by musical artist Sun Ra, released on March 16, 2018.
The Ankh and the Ark
The Ankh and the Ark is a song by musical artist Sun Ra, released on February 9, 2018.
Sun Ra Plays Gershwin
Sun Ra Plays Gershwin is an album by musical artist Sun Ra, released on December 22, 2017.
The Space Age Is Here To Stay
The Space Age Is Here To Stay is an album by musical artist Sun Ra, released on October 1, 2017.

Photos - Sun Ra161

Popular Albums115

Album Appearances & References24

Popular Songs11

Song Appearances & References4

Popular Live Albums13

Musical Group References2

Soundtrack Film Appearances1

TV Shows1

Book References & Influences3

Collaborators & Influencers12

Awards & Nominations1

Other Music-Related Relationships34

Personal & Professional Relationships6

You May Also Be Interested In29


Spotify - Albums & Singles125


Spotify - Appears On11


Spotify - Top Tracks10


News Articles6

Afrofuturist and Jazz Pioneer Sun Ra’s Legendary Indianapolis Concert
  –  March 22, 2018
What interests me most about the case is that the reports of paranormal activity on the Avenue coincide with the date of a legendary Indianapolis concert from the experimental big-band jazz ensemble of Sun Ra Arkestra. Perhaps no other musician in ...
  –  March 29, 2018
Now that his seminal, self-released Saturn albums are back in print, we thought we’d offer you this 1958 classic, which mixes the straight-ahead (Enlightenment) and spacey (Ancient Aiethiopia) as only the late Sun Ra could. “One of the most important ...
Afrofuturist and Jazz Pioneer Sun Ra’s Legendary Indianapolis Concert
  –  March 22, 2018
You’ve probably heard of the Roswell incident, even if you’re not a student of paranormal phenomena. The purported UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1948 is perhaps the most iconic story of humankind’s contact with extraterrestrial life.
Marshall Allen Looks Back on Five Decades of Sun Ra Arkestra
  –  March 30, 2018
He stayed abroad, studying music in France, until returning to the U.S. in the early 1950s, making his home in Chicago. That's where he first met Sun Ra. New Times: Can you recall your first meeting with Sonny? Marshall Allen: There used to be a lot of ...
Afrofuturist and Jazz Pioneer Sun Ra’s Legendary Indianapolis Concert
  –  March 22, 2018
By the 1950s Sun Ra had planted roots in Chicago, where he began developing a new experimental form of space-age jazz music. With the invention of this new music, Sun Ra also developed a new mythology, claiming to have arrived on Earth from planet Saturn ...
Sun Ra "ultimate backbone of music"
  –  March 4, 2018
The music world is full of larger-than-life characters, but surely few more extraordinary than the late Sun Ra, an African American bandleader who claimed he was visiting Earth from Saturn, leaving a trail of music in his wake. His band, now known as The ...

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