Interviews & Essays
Editor: John Sinclair
Size: 216mm x 139mm
Page Count: 256
Weight (g): 300
Available exclusively from headpress.com in December 2009. If you would like to be notified of its release, click here to send us an email. Write “Sun Ra” as the subject header and we will get back to you.
Composer, bandleader, pianist, poet and philosopher, Sun Ra is one of the most colourful and enduring of musical legacies, transcending time, place and cultural genres.
From the mid 1950s until his death in 1993, Sun Ra led “The Arkestra”, an ensemble with an ever-changing line-up and name which sometimes numbered as many as thirty musicians living and playing together under the despotic tutelage of Sun Ra himself. Their music touched upon the entire history of jazz, from ragtime to swing, bebop to free jazz,while the band also pioneered the use of new forms, including electronic music, space music and free improvisation. But Sun Ra’s legendary status was earned as much for his eccentricities as for his unique artistic vision. Claiming to be from Saturn, he developed and propagated a mystifying sci-fi mythology which he weaved into both the music and Dadaist performances of The Arkestra (performances which inspired artists as diverse as George Clinton and MC5). His ideas are still the cause of much debate and controversy, the poetry and prose Sun Ra left behind only deepening the ambiguities around his work and ideas.
This book collects together for the first time interviews with Sun Ra, the people that knew him, and his contemporaries, alongside illuminating essays and conversational pieces regarding his prolific musical output, mystique, philosophy, fans and much more.
1. By way of an Introduction by Peter Dennett
2. Sun Ra by Amiri Baraka
3. Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth by John Sinclair
4. It Knocks on Everybody’s Door by John Sinclair: Interview with Sun Ra, Detroit Sun, 1966
5. Cosmic Catalyst by David Henderson: Sun Ra in New York City, Oakland & Philadelphia
6. Word from Sun Ra by Amiri Baraka
7. Their Space Was My Place by Ben Edmonds: Sun Ra & the MC-5 at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit, 2009
8. Life Is Splendid by John Sinclair: Sun Ra at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, 1972
9. Interview with Amiri Baraka by Lazaro Vega, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1999
10. I Know Everything You Need to Know About Music by John Sinclair: A Conversation with Michael Ray
11. Arkestra in Residence by Rick Steiger: Sun Ra & His Arkestra at the Detroit Jazz Center, 1980
12. Sun Ra Memories by John Sinclair
13. Twenty-first Century Music by Pete Gershon: The Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen
14. The Great and Wondrous Sun Ra by John Sinclair: In Conversation with Wayne Kramer, London, June 2008
15. My Night as a Tone Scientist by Wayne Kramer
16. Cosmic Engineering: Jerry Dammers & the Spatial aka Orchestra / Part 1: Interview with Jerry Dammers by John Sinclair & Dylan Harding, London, 2009 / Part 2: Concert reviews by Paul Bradshaw, John Mulvey, Ian Harrison & Jack Massarik
17. Schwartzegeist by Sadiq Bey: Live from Berlin: The Sun Ra Tribute Project
18. Sun Ra: Myth, Magic & Music by Steve Fly Agaric 23
19. The Mystical Estate / Part 1: Standing in the Shadow of Sun Ra by Dylan Harding / Part 2: Interview with Haf-fa Rool by David Kerekes & Caleb Selah, London, 2002
20. Sun Ra on Film by John Sinclair & David Kerekes: The Cry of Jazz & Space is the Place
21. Sun Ra Obituary by John Sinclair: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 1993
22. Photos & Comics / Part 1: Sonny’s Last Song by Mat Colegate & Dan White / Part 2: Scrapbook
23. Contributor notes
24. About this book
EDITOR BIO: In 1969, the poet-provocateur, MC5 manager and White Panther John Sinclair found himself the victim of that decade’s draconian American drug laws, and facing a twenty-year jail sentence for the possession of two joints. The counterculture Sinclair helped create came to his rescue, however, when John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Phil Ochs and others performed at a successful benefit gig to petition for his release. Since that epochal moment, Sinclair (whom Ben Edmonds calls the “hardest working poet in showbiz”) has travelled the globe with his beat verses and inimitable growl, performing with some of the world’s finest musicians. He interviewed Sun Ra in 1966.