Source: Lapham’s Quarterly.
he last time I spoke with Sun Ra, I asked him for his take on the enduring legacy of the Great American Songbook. It was 1993. Ra had returned to Birmingham, Alabama, where he’d been born nearly eighty years before. He would die there, from complications associated with pneumonia, a few weeks later. The pianist, composer, and bandleader’s first published composition, “Alone with Just a Memory of You,” written in 1936 together with Henry McCellons, conveyed a tender, awkward Tin Pan Alley tone that betrayed his love of sentimental songcraft. This passion is driven home repeatedly in a survey of Ra’s magnificently gigantic discography. He employed anachronistic singers like Clyde Williams and Hattie Randolph. He played familiar compositions with double-entendre titles especially meaningful to him, such as “East of the Sun,” “Keep Your Sunny Side Up,” “I Dream Too Much,” “Out of Nowhere,” “This Is Always,” “Second Star to the Right,” and “Over the Rainbow.” Never mind that Ra is known as one of the most adventurous and innovative figures in the history of the twentieth century. That he brought synthesizers to jazz. That his costumes and light shows paved the way for psychedelic rock. That he wrote apocalyptic and deeply philosophical poetry. That he identified as an extraterrestrial. That outer space and the unknown featured as prominently as ancient Egypt in his unique proto-Afrofuturist weltanschauung, which often manifested as a circus-like performance troupe that he called the Arkestra.
Source: Downtown Music Gallery.
Mary Halvorson & Bill Frisell! Gyan Riley – Solo & Duo with Timba Harris! Xander Naylor! Plus Two Books by Keith Rowe and On K’A Davis! Ben Bennett / Michael Foster / Jacob Wick! Kyle Gann! Tapes from Sarah Bernstein & Kid Millions and Michael Foster & Ben Bennett!
LP’s from Carl Stone, Prince Far I and Jean Cohen-Solal! Plus Archival Discs by Van Der Graaf Generator, Don Cherry, Roy Haynes, Phil Woods, Two from Sonny Rollins, Mose Allison, Gene Clark, Ry Cooder & David Lindley and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson!
Plus Eight New CD’s from the Mighty Clean Feed Label Due in Stock Very Soon!
Upcoming Sets at Downtown Music Gallery – FREE, every Sunday at 6pm
THE DMG 28TH ANNIVERSARY SERIES OF SONIC CELEBRATIONS Continue with:
Sunday, July 22nd:
6pm: GUSTAVO OBLIGADO / BRANDON SEABROOK / ANDREW DRURY – Alto Sax / Guitar / Drums
7pm: DREW WESLELY / HERY PAZ / RAF VERTESSEN – Guitar / Tenor Sax / Drums
Sunday, July 29th:
6pm: NATE SCHEIBLE and SARAH HUGHES – Drums and Alto Sax
7pm: STEVE SWELL and MARK SEGGER – Trombone and Drums
Sunday, August 5th:
6pm: JESSE DULMAN QUARTET: RAS MOSHE / DAVE SEWELSON / LEONID GALAGANOV
7pm: MATTEO LIBERATORE / MICHAEL FOSTER / JOANNA MATTREY – Guitar / Sax / Viola!
Sunday August 12th:
6pm: BEN GOLDBERG and KIRK KNUFFKE
7pm: JUANMA TRUJILLO / HERY PAZ / DAYEON SECK – Guitar / Sax / Drums
Sunday, August 19th
6pm: ROBERT DICK and LESZEK “HEFI” WISNIOSKI – International Flute Duo
7pm: ALEX LOUDOUDIS and RAS MOSHE – Drums and Tenor Sax