Sun Ra Profiled

Source: The New Yorker.

Ra was far from obscure: in the late sixties, he graced the cover of Rolling Stone. In the seventies, he taught at Berkeley, performed on “Saturday Night Live,” and toured around the world. But by the time “Lanquidity” was released Ra was becoming less optimistic about how much listeners had learned from his work. He was often treated as an eccentric, and his theatrical dress frequently overshadowed his prowess as a composer. In a lecture that he delivered in New York, he reiterated his lack of interest in making music about “Earth things.” He riffed on Iran, the threat of nuclear warfare, the fact that young people seemed uninterested in cosmic salvation.