From Audiophile Audition:
There was nobody in jazz quite like Sun Ra. He was a prolific (though he never had mainstream success) jazz performer, composer, bandleader, synth player, poet and philosopher who was born in Birmingham, AL, but claimed he had always had the birth name of Sun Ra and was not of this Earth but from Saturn. He said he had a visionary experience as a college student in 1936 in which he traveled to Saturn and (at least a decade before the big public interest in flying saucers); this led to the start of his name and personal mythology. He led his various “Arkestras” from the mid-‘50s to his death in 1993, which often included a group of singers and dancers. They usually wore sci-fi or Egyptian-themed costumes. I was lucky enough to see him perform once in the early ‘90s at the planaterium in San Francisco, with dancers coming down the aisles swinging the plastic hoses which were popular in the ‘60s, which each produced a different tone.