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.
Sun Ra was almost as prolific a writer as he was a composer. A new set of books and pamplets out on the Corbett vs. Dempsey showcase his literary side with visionary poetry, esoteric essays, heady manifestos, and occult philosophy.
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.
“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.
Like his mentor Sun Ra, Ahmed Abdullah understands the power and significance of a name. Diaspora, the combo he leads with Monique Ngozi Nri, stands for “Dispersions of the Spirt of Ra,” and they joined AD to discuss the continual recreation of Ra’s music, Afrofuturism, and the possibilities of the future.
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 …
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.
“The light of the future casts the shadows of tomorrow.” – Sun Ra Space is the place — something to keep in mind during these increasingly weird times. Something our […]
Happy birthday, Sun Ra . Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914, the avant-jazz pioneer would be 101 years old today. Keeping with the cosmic, Harte Recordings has released a commemorative 40th Year […]