Saturday, June 6, 2009
Let the Sunshine In
Sun Ra, that is. You don't have to be insane to do jazz, but it might help. Herman Poole Blount, who I gather legally changed his name to Le Sony'r Ra, was pretty far out there. Sun Ra, as he styled himself in the musical world, claimed to be from Saturn. He really did. Whether he really believed that or not, he stuck to his story.
Sun Ra was clearly a composer and band leader of some genius. He recorded a lot of music, and experimented with a wide range of jazz subgenres. Most jazz fans know only his record The Helicentric Worlds of Sun Ra. This is unfortunate, because his best work (so far as I have sampled it) is Jazz in Silhouette. There is really some interesting stuff going on here. I am not a big band fan, but this gets me listening. Here is a sample: