Sun Ra

~ Person

Legal name: Herman Blount


Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra; May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993) was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," prolific musical output, and performances. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979.

Controversial because of his eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle, and claiming that he was of the "Angel Race", and not from Earth but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona, using "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism. He preached awareness and peace above all. He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian God of the Sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee. Sun Ra denied any connection with his birth name, saying "That's an imaginary person, never existed... Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym."

From the mid-1950s to his death, Sun Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up, although certain core members remained with the group through its various incarnations (Marshal Allen, John Gilmore, June Tyson, and others). It was by turns called "The Solar Myth Arkestra", "His Cosmo Discipline Arkestra", the "Blue Universe Arkestra", "Myth Science Arkestra", "The Jet Set Omniverse Arkestra", and many other variations. Sun Ra asserted that the ever-changing name of his ensemble reflected the ever-changing nature of his music. His mainstream success was limited, but Sun Ra was a prolific recording artist and frequent live performer. His music ranged from keyboard solos to big bands of over 30 musicians and touched on virtually the entire history of jazz, from ragtime to swing music, from bebop to free jazz. He also used free improvisation and was one of the early musicians to make extensive use of electronic keyboards.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1957 Sun Song Sun Ra 3
1961 The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra Sun Ra 6
1965 Rocket Number Nine Take Off for the Planet Venus Sun Ra 2
1965 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume 1 Sun Ra 4
1968 Monorails and Satellites Sun Ra 2
1969 Monorails and Satellites, Volume 2 Sun Ra 1
1970 Nothing Is... Sun Ra 3
1972 Astro Black Sun Ra 1
1973 Space Is the Place Sun Ra 2
1974 The Antique Blacks Sun Ra 2
1975 What's New? Sun Ra 3
1976 Cosmos Sun Ra 2
1977 Solo Piano, Volume 1 Sun Ra 1
1978 Lanquidity Sun Ra 2
1978 New Steps Sun Ra 2
1979 Visions Walt Dickerson & Sun Ra 2
1980 Of Mythic Worlds Sun Ra 1
1981 Aurora Borealis Sun Ra 1
1982 Oblique Parallax Sun Ra 1
1983 Just Friends Sun Ra 1
1983 Ra to the Rescue Sun Ra 1
1985 Cosmo Sun Connection Sun Ra 2
1985 Hiroshima Sun Ra 2
1985 Outer Reach Intensity-Energy Sun Ra 1
1985 When Spaceships Appear Sun Ra 1
1988 Hidden Fire 1 Sun Ra 1
1988 Hidden Fire 2 Sun Ra 1
1989 Blue Delight Sun Ra 3
1990 Purple Night Sun Ra 1
1998 Somewhere Else Sun Ra 1
1999 Janus Sun Ra 2
2000 Standards Sun Ra 1
2000 The Great Lost Sun Ra Albums Sun Ra 1
2003 Piano Recital: Teatro la Fenice Sun Ra 1
2003 Nuits de la Fondation Maeght Vol.1 Sun Ra 1
2003 Nuits de la Fondation Maeght Vol.2 Sun Ra 1
2003 Spaceship Lullaby Sun Ra 1
2005 Heliocentric Worlds, Volume 3: The Lost Tapes Sun Ra 1
2014 Other Strange Worlds Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra 1
St. Louis Blues (Solo Piano) Sun Ra 1
The Creator of the Universe Sun Ra 1
The Other Side of the Sun Sun Ra 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1996 The Singles Sun Ra 1
1998 Calling Planet Earth Sun Ra 2
2007 Dance of the Living Image Sun Ra 1
2007 Towards the Stars: Pioneering in 1955-56 Sun Ra 1
2008 The Universe Sent Me Sun Ra 1
2010 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Sun Ra 1
2012 Art Yard in a Box Sun Ra 1
2013 A Space Odyssey: From Birmingham to the Big Apple – The Quest Begins Sun Ra 1

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