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*** SUN RA Corner***


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5 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

There was talk about this, though not all in this thread.  All Sun Ra releases that Irwin Chusid is involved in are worth getting.

He's also very contactable/approachable - I've done so a couple of times

I've been picking up all of the Modern Harmonic & Cosmic Myth CDs (& occasional LP) soon after release

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I just saw the Corner for the first time. 

I love Sun Ra and he was one of the first things I heard when I was in my early teens and loved avantgarde, and got one of Ra´s ESP recordings, but I also loved the mixture of free jazz, space chants and some older swing tunes, so the Sun Ra from the later 70´s on was like jazz history. 
As a starter I liked musicians who had made their names in the avantgarde scene but also could play a whole history of styles. Like Mingus with Dolphy and so on, when their concert sets included brandnew stuff like "Meditations" with some Fats Waller inputs from Jakie Byard, and vintage bop enforced with more avantgardistic stuff by Dolphy (Parkeriana). 

So Sun Ra was very very important for my jazz education. 

I can´t write more about him, because my listening experiences and diggin´ into his music was about from 1972-80 (with historic recordings from the 60´s only on record). 

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I taught a class at Bard College the other day subbing for a friend (musician on tour). She teaches an Experimental Music Practices course in their Curatorial Studies department. My focus being on avant-garde jazz, it was a lot to cover in 2 and a half hours!

I was asked by the students why I did not cover Sun Ra. My short answer is that he is a world unto himself but that's true for literally everyone I DID cover in the class. In order to go broad we did have to skip some of my favorites, like Mingus, Dolphy, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, and the Japanese scenes (mostly for lack of available performance footage). Ra, for me, has a lot of baggage and though I like a large chunk of his music, I feel like it would be so easy to spend tons of time on him, and Cliffs Notes just would not do the whole context justice. 

Short answer: they just need to give me a semester-long course.

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1 minute ago, clifford_thornton said:

I taught a class at Bard College the other day subbing for a friend (musician on tour). She teaches an Experimental Music Practices course in their Curatorial Studies department. My focus being on avant-garde jazz, it was a lot to cover in 2 and a half hours!

I was asked by the students why I did not cover Sun Ra. My short answer is that he is a world unto himself but that's true for literally everyone I DID cover in the class. In order to go broad we did have to skip some of my favorites, like Mingus, Dolphy, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, and the Japanese scenes (mostly for lack of available performance footage). Ra, for me, has a lot of baggage and though I like a large chunk of his music, I feel like it would be so easy to spend tons of time on him, and Cliffs Notes just would not do the whole context justice. 

Short answer: they just need to give me a semester-long course.

Wow!  How cool is that!  I wish I could have sat in on the class. :tup

  

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16 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

I taught a class at Bard College the other day subbing for a friend (musician on tour). She teaches an Experimental Music Practices course in their Curatorial Studies department. My focus being on avant-garde jazz, it was a lot to cover in 2 and a half hours!

I was asked by the students why I did not cover Sun Ra. My short answer is that he is a world unto himself but that's true for literally everyone I DID cover in the class. In order to go broad we did have to skip some of my favorites, like Mingus, Dolphy, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, and the Japanese scenes (mostly for lack of available performance footage). Ra, for me, has a lot of baggage and though I like a large chunk of his music, I feel like it would be so easy to spend tons of time on him, and Cliffs Notes just would not do the whole context justice. 

Short answer: they just need to give me a semester-long course.

Thank you for that interesting statement. And because it has a large amount of context to what I just had written before you in my posting. 

Well, I never got formal training had had to "fly" by myself. Well I got help and encouragement from important musicians, that´s true. 
But Sun Ra somehow came to me as part of my times. I mentioned the context with Mingus only, since Mingus was the first music I heard, that was not only straight ahead acoustic (old Miles) or early electric (then "new" Miles), and Dolphy became one of those musicians who fascinated me most. 

So I see a lot of paralels with your favorites Mingus Dolphy. 
And as I said. Mingus ´views into the past or the future (lookin back to blues and gospel, old time jazz and bop, and lookin forward or better said into the presence then , just was an ideal thing for a modern jazz addict youngster. And Sun Ra had a lot of that too. I didn´t really understand those sun, moon and stars - stuff but dug it and if I looked up on a dark sky with the Moon and the Stars I had Sun Ra in my head 😄, and otherwise it was just the music that fascinated me.......

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With Ra, the Afro-futurist project is interesting, as is creating an environment/language that white people cannot easily co-opt. I get that, and find it important. In addition a lot of the music is good, and the visual aspects of the album covers, chap-books, and surrounding objects are neat. That is something to talk about in a broad overview context.

I'm not so into a lot of the sci-fi kitsch myself, however, and the theater I can take or leave -- sometimes it is cool to see, sometimes not for me. The latter aspects to me are extra-musical baggage and get a bit cloying. What I find a bit frustrating also (and this has been my general experience) is that people get very into the idea of this outer-space cat, but leave aside the music, and don't have much interest in the broader continuum. That isn't the fault of Sun Ra, though. 

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On 10/24/2023 at 4:45 PM, colinmce said:

Speaking of all that, does anyone know is Chusid would have ownership of the Horo sessions? Those are at the top of my wishlist for reissue, I'd love to have the whole of them on a CD set.

Neither Irwin nor Sun Ra LLC have "ownership". Though, my understanding is that Sinesio and Horo were less than equitable with the artists they recorded. A true CD set would certainly be welcome, though unlikely. In the meantime, Irwin did work his magic (agree with others that his audio restoration is the Ra gold standard) without access to the master tapes: Unity, Next Steps, and Other Voices, Other Blues are all available for download from the Bandcamp site. Sound is way better than previous needle drops found some years back.

I also think his writing and notes on Sunny (as he spells it) is special. Been on him for years to assemble all the various pieces (including the iTunes reissue PDF liners) into a book, PDF, or digital compendium.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Newish book published by U. of N. Dakota [Digital] Press. Looks interesting but I'm a little sceptical about collected blog essays. Has anyone read this?

Rodger Coleman, Sun Ra Sundays. Edited by Sam Byrd. 2022.

In his time on planet Earth, the iconoclastic musician, visionary, big band leader, and composer Sun Ra left behind a treasure trove of music—studio recordings, live performances, rehearsals—many of them appearing on his homegrown label Saturn. In Sun Ra Sundays, Rodger Coleman examines over 130 of these recordings, both released and unreleased, placing them in historical and biographical context and giving detailed critical analyses of the music. Originally appearing on Coleman’s blog NuVoid, all of the essays have been updated, corrected, and arranged in discographical order. Sun Ra Sundays is a major work of criticism, a goldmine of information for both the novice and the experienced Ra fanatic (and everyone in [between). - ? - text cut off]

Edited by T.D.
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