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Thread: Sun Ra

  1. #1
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    Sun Ra

    I'm listening to Sun Ra's Magic City, and looking over the book The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets.

    So what do you think of Sun Ra's music, and, more interestingly, what do you think he was trying to convey as an artist, with the references to outer space, the cosmic garb, the streetcorner messages, and his general outlook? What does The Magic City refer to? Some place in outer space?

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    I enjoy bits and pieces of Sun Ra. Many big bits and wary of some of the pieces.
    Mostly all Sun Ra's music seemed to hail from outer space or from some other place near that place. I have one CD but not the best, but some other tracks from various sources -Sleeping Beauty -Somewhere Else.
    To me, what he was trying to convey was all you mentioned and will probably vary with each and every listener.
    My main attraction is the tenor of John Gilmore - a man of two places - a Sun Ra stalwart and very underrated straight ahead bare knuckle bruiser who was an influence on Coltrane, also a Jazz Messenger, and a survivor of the Clifford Jordan , 'Blowing In From Chicago' tenor battle. His altissimo stuff with Sun Ra I can take in small doses if it fits my needs and the music's needs during a particular piece but sometimes I feel Illinois Jacquet started something in 1944, but he said he was just having fun!
    A lot of altoist Marshalll Allen's work I also enjoy.
    I got to go now, I am due somewhere else.
    Last edited by stu; Jul-18-2013 at 22:06.

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    I've never heard of Sun Ra

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDUDE View Post
    I've never heard of Sun Ra
    Where have you been? In outer space? Or Birmingham?
    No, not England. It's After the End of the World...Don't You Know That Yet?
    What do you think? Not only free jazz, but...don't the robes and headgear remind you of Egypt?
    I'm sure that went over quite well with the dogs in Birmingham.
    I hear that's the reason many have dog-phobias to this day.
    So, "what he was trying to convey will probably vary with each and every listener"? I hope not.
    What the teacher is saying makes much more sense if you've done your homework.
    It's summer now....no more free lunches.
    Where have you been, somewhere in outer space?
    Last edited by millions; Jul-19-2013 at 03:38.

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    'What he was saying will probably vary with each listener'. I would hope so! That's jazz, no matter what any teacher tells you. You can't teach that in school.
    That's why jazz is the music of surprise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDUDE View Post
    I've never heard of Sun Ra
    Me neither what have we been missing?
    I don’t want a signature any more

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    Quote Originally Posted by stu View Post
    'What he was saying will probably vary with each listener'. I would hope so! That's jazz, no matter what any teacher tells you. You can't teach that in school.
    That's why jazz is the music of surprise.
    Okay, but if you miss the point, that's no good. You need to try harder to understand the artist's basic message, or your subjective interpretation is pointless.

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    I already do that. If the basic message shows itself I still take from it the message as I feel it, isn't that the point? Or is it that pointless?
    I will admit that sometimes I don't allow too much subjectivity to intrude on the enjoyment of the music or my own personal thoughts.
    Sometimes it pays to forget the rule books and just come up with our own interpretations. It is jazz after all. That's the point, and it's good.

    As cornetist Ruby Braff once answered when someone wished him a happy birthday, "What right do you have to tell me what kind of birthday to have!"

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    The name, the clothes. Bit obvious really. You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

    Experimentaion is important, but just not for me. Too discordant...

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDUDE View Post
    I've never heard of Sun Ra
    Hear ya go John feast ya lug holes on this
    I see in the comments on Youtube someone called it a great tune ???????
    I don’t want a signature any more

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  13. #12
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    And that is the best place fo`r it. Give me Coleman Hawkins anytime`.

    te`ddy
    Pining for the South of France

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    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster cwarchc's Avatar
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    I'm just introducing myself to Sun Ra.
    Some of his work is very, very good.
    Whilst other aspects are ++++
    A talented artist from another world???

  15. #14
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    I think you are right there. Not sure which world though.

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

  16. #15
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    It seems obvious to me: Sun Ra experienced terrible treatment in the South, in the 1950s. Check out the Polemical Writings, mentioned above, for confirmation on this point.

    "Magic City" refers to a billboard which greeted motorists driving into Birmingham, Alabama (read the liner notes to the CD).

    I think the space garb, aside from being good show, was a way of distancing himself from American culture. "I might as well be from another planet," which is a sentiment Jimi Hendrix also echoed…

    The robes & garb also were reminiscent of Egyptian culture. Remember, Egypt was basically a black, African culture, not Western or European, and it was one of the first GREAT civilizations.

    Also, you may (or may not) notice various Egyptian music influences in Sun Ra…flutes, the rhythms. If you've ever heard any Egyptian music, that is.

    The short version is: Sun Ra was an artist, and he was making an artistic statement, not just entertaining us in strange garb. All this weird outer space stuff meant something. It was commenting on race, and on our society and culture. It was a reaction. It was expression, with several layers of meaning.
    Last edited by millions; Oct-06-2017 at 21:34.

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