Two Nights In Chicago: Sun Ra At The Showcase 1976-77

This two-LP set is taken from a show on Feb. 21, 1976 and two in November 1977. The lineage of these records is a little muddled: parts of the 1977 shows were released on The Soul Vibrations of Man and Taking A Chance on Chances, two limited-edition records with questionable fidelity. Additionally, according to Sun Ra archivist Michael Anderson, the tapes were a mess: “it’s a puzzle,” he says in the liner notes. But thankfully the puzzle has been put together for release by Zev Feldman’s Jazz Detective label.

Red Hot + Ra :: Nuclear War

A wide cast, including avant-R&B singer Georgia Anne Muldrow, trumpeter Josef Leimberg, punk jazzers Irreversible Entanglements, cosmic reedist and vocalist Angel Bat Dawid, vocalist Malcolm Jiyane Tree-o, Grandmaster CAP, and remixers Dennis Bovell, Rich Medina, Moon Medicin, Sanford Biggers, Joel Tarman, and the Kronos Quartet unite to explore, expand, and reinterpret Sun Ra on Red Hot & Ra: Nuclear War and Red Hot & Ra: Nuclear War (Remixes).

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is The Place (Music From The Original Soundtrack)

This month marked the 109th anniversary of Sun Ra’s arrival on earth. As such, it’s a fine time to revisit the soundtrack to the iconoclast’s 1974 Afrofuturist science fiction film, Space Is The Place. The Sundazed label has it covered via their new boxed set, Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra: Space Is The Place (Music From The Original Soundtrack).

Bitchin Bajas :: Switched On Ra

Chicago kosmische collective Bitchin Bajas covered Sun Ra’s “Angels and Demons At Play” back in 2017 on their brilliant Bajas Fresh double LP. And it was so good that it left the band’s fans clamoring for an encore. Well, here it is: Switched On Ra: eight awesome Sun Ra interpretations, a fitting tribute to a composer whose stature seems to grow with each passing year.

On the Lasting Allure of Thought Forms

The mystical notions of theosophy have inspired long artists like Sun Ra, Van Morrison, and Elvis Presley. With the publication of the 1905 text Thought Forms, Sacred Bones Records continues a long tradition of music and the occult intertwining in the pursuit of making the unknown knowable.

Sun Ra Arkestra :: Swirling

“Music is not material. Music is spiritual.” Swirling, the first studio effort from the Sun Ra Arkestra since 1999, is about more than just music. It’s part of a vast cosmic legacy of Sun Ra. Guest reviewer Brad Farberman joins us for a listen.

Tone Scientists :: Tiny Pyramids (Sun Ra)

This one slipped out quietly as the b-side of a one-off 7″ in 2018 – Tone Scientists’ cover of Sun Ra’s “Tiny Pyramids.” True to the 1974 Arkestra original, the ad hoc group ride a heavy Pungi-like groove throughout. With percussion buoyed by jazzist Vince Meghrouni and Tortoise’s John Herndon, session producer Mike Watt fills in on bass duties with Pete Mazich on keys. Saturn music endures …

Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (Documentary)

For those interested in the potent alchemy that was the brew of bandleader, philosopher, player and poet, Sun Ra, filmmaker Robert Mugge’s documentary “A Joyful Noise” is essential. Released in 1980, the hour long film captures Sun Ra’s Arkestra performing in Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, along with behind the scenes footage of the players at rest, rehearsal and in interview.

Stream the film, in its entirety, below.