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» Sun Ra

Sun Ra
Born: May 22, 1914 in Birmingham, Al
Died: May 30, 1993 in Birmingham, Al
Active: '40s-'90s Major
Styles: Experimental Big Band, Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz
Instrument: Piano Representative
Albums: "Angels & Demons at Play/The Nubians of Plutonia", "Reflections in Blue", "Sunrise in Different Dimensions" Representative
Songs: "Enlightenment", "Space Is the Place", "We Travel the Spaceways"

UPC Type Title
5024792500024 CD 1984-Live at Praxis
730182206623 CD Angels & Demons at Play/Nubian
725543267818 Vinyl Angels & Demons
725543296917 Vinyl Angels & Demons at Play
8717127018123 Vinyl Antique Blacks
725543299215 Vinyl Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow
725543296719 Vinyl Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow
730182206722 CD Atlantis
725543297310 Vinyl Atlantis
725543631817 Vinyl Atlantis
725543298010 Vinyl Bad & Beautiful
725543267214 Vinyl Bad & Beautiful
618426102521 CD Black Mass
725543979513 Vinyl Continuation
730182203622 CD Cosmic Tones/Art Forms of Dime
725543297013 Vinyl Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy
725543298515 Vinyl Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy
077712710206 CD Cosmos
803341393837 Vinyl Cosmos
766485668318 (i) Vinyl Cosmos
716205030123 CD Creator of the Universe
022891986591 DVD Cry of Jazz
716205030420 CD Dance of the Living Image
767522707120 CD Destination Unknown
8717127015429 Vinyl Disco 3000
730182206821 CD Fate in a Pleasant Mood/when S
725543296412 Vinyl Fate in a Pleasant Mood
725543298218 Vinyl Fate in a Pleasant Mood
5036408131621 (i) CD Four Classic Albums
5024792018826 CD Friendly Galaxy
795041725929 CD Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra
8436019582343 (i) CD Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra
4988001420200 (i) CD Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra
5052571047118 (i) Vinyl Futuristic Sounds of
730182221725 CD Great Lost Sun Ra Albums: Cymb
730182221923 CD Greatest Hits: Easy Listening
730182201123 CD Holiday for Soul Dance
725543298713 Vinyl Holiday for Soul Dance
725543297419 Vinyl Holiday for Soul Dance
027312011128 CD Hours After
731253035227 CD Interplanetary Melodies
725543296511 Vinyl Interstellar Low Ways
725543298317 Vinyl Interstellar Low Ways
730182201222 CD Jazz in Silhouette
8436539310112 (i) CD Jazz in Silhouette
8436028693092 (i) CD Jazz in Silhouette
725543356512 Vinyl Jazz in Silhouette
8436028699155 (i) Vinyl Jazz in Silhouette
5036408124821 (i) Vinyl Jazz in Silhouette
716205031892 DVD Jazz Session
730182222029 CD Lanquidity
093652359619 Vinyl Lanquidity
725543267917 Vinyl Lanquidity
077712710398 CD Live at Montreux
803341393820 Vinyl Live at Montreaux
889397901110 Vinyl Live at Praxis 1984
716205030826 CD Live at the Electric Circus/Newport
798747709828 CD Live at the Paradox
716205017490 DVD Live at the Roadhouse
716205017094 DVD Live at the Palomino-L.a. 1988
5024792290024 CD Live in Cleveland
716205031724 CD Live in London 1970
716205017292 DVD Live in Montreaux & Lugano
716205017599 DVD Live in Oakland
5024792015429 CD Love in Outer Space
730182206920 CD Magic City
725543267511 Vinyl Magic City
725543298119 Vinyl Magic City
022891986195 DVD Magic Sun
5024792100026 CD Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt
716205031120 CD Milan Zurich West Berlin Paris
0716205031120 CD Milan Zurich West Berlin Paris
730182201321 CD Monorails & Satellites
725543297518 Vinyl Monorails & Satellites
4995879220368 (i) CD Music From Tomorrow's World
725543297716 Vinyl My Brother the Wind
725543267412 Vinyl My Brother the Wind
8427328604956 CD New Horizons
8436006497599 (i) CD New Steps
5024792014927 CD Night in East Berlin/My Brothe
725543268112 Vinyl Night of the Purple Moon
725543297815 Vinyl Night of the Purple Moon
8436542012041 (i) CD Nubians of Plutonia + Bad & Beautiful
725543267610 Vinyl Nubians of Plutonia
725543296818 Vinyl Nubians of Plutonia
725543631114 Vinyl Of Mythic Worlds
725543327116 Vinyl Of Mythic Worlds
8717127015528 Vinyl On Jupiter
730182203721 CD Other Planes of There
725543299116 Vinyl Other Planes of There
725543299314 Vinyl Other Planes of There
5016027609428 (i) CD Out There a Minute
4002587268022 (i) CD Outer Spaceways-Remast'D
730182221824 CD Pathways to Unknown Worlds/Fri
730182203929 CD Planet Earth/Interstellar Low
760137477495 DVD Points on Aspace Age
5024792019823 CD Quiet Place in the Universe
889397007218 Vinyl Reflections in Blue (Complete Studio Sessions)
5024792023028 CD Second Star to the Right
731253035326 CD Second Stop Is Jupiter
716205030321 CD Shadows Took Shape-Lost Reel 3
730182216424 CD Singles
5024792210022 CD Solo Piano Recital-Teatro La Fenice Venizia
011661303621 CD Somewhere Else
725543352613 Vinyl Soul Vibrations of Man
038153041427 CD Sound of Joy
730182201420 CD Sound Sun Pleasure
8436542011730 (i) CD Sound Sun Pleasure/We Travel the Space Ways
725543298812 Vinyl Sound Sun Pleasure
725543297617 Vinyl Sound Sun Pleasure!!
730182207026 CD Space Is the Place
011105124928 (i) CD Space Is the Place
824247019928 Vinyl Space Is the Place
752725028929 (i) CD Space Probe
5024792260027 CD Springtime in Chicago
5024792023523 CD Stardust From Tommorrow
011661303522 CD Strange Celestial Road
725543297211 Vinyl Strange Strings
725543298614 Vinyl Strange Strings
883717400086 CD Strange Worlds
716205030222 CD Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Vol. 2-Intergalactic Resear..
730182204025 CD Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Vol. 2-My Brother the Wind
716205017391 DVD Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Vol. 4-Wpfw Radio Jazz Fest..
716205031625 CD Sun Ra: Vol. 1-Eternal Myth Revealed (14-59)
725543315915 Vinyl Sun Ra: Vol. 1-Solar-Myth Approach
725543315816 Vinyl Sun Ra: Vol. 1-Solar-Myth Approach
725543297914 Vinyl Sun Ra: Vol. 2-My Brother the Wind
725543298911 Vinyl Sun Ra: Vol. 2-My Brother the Wind
725543316110 Vinyl Sun Ra: Vol. 2-Solar-Myth Approach
725543316011 Vinyl Sun Ra: Vol. 2-Solar-Myth Approach
038153041120 CD Sun Song
8712618900413 Vinyl Sun Song
038153041113 Vinyl Sun Song
752156069829 (i) CD Sunrise in Different Dimensions
8436542012225 (i) CD Super Sonic Jazz + Fate in a Pleasant Mood
725543296610 Vinyl Super-Sonic Jazz
725543268013 Vinyl Super-Sonic Jazz
730182201529 CD Supersonic Jazz
5013929311923 (i) CD Towards the Stars
725543964014 Vinyl Universe in Blue
725543964113 Vinyl Universe in Blue
0716205030529 CD Universe Sent Me: Lost Reel 5
716205030529 CD Universe Sent Me (Lost Reel 5)
716205030925 CD Untitled Recordings
725543299512 Vinyl Visits Planet Earth
725543299413 Vinyl Visits Planet Earth
730182203820 CD We Travel the Spaceways/Bad &
725543267719 Vinyl We Travel the Spaceways
5024792240029 CD What Planet Is This?
889397900632 Vinyl What Planet Is This?
730182221626 CD When Angels Speak of Love
725543298416 Vinyl When Sun Comes Out
725543299017 Vinyl When Sun Comes Out

Biography: Of all the jazz musicians, Sun Ra was probably the most controversial. He did not make it easy for people to take him seriously, for he surrounded his adventurous music with costumes and mythology that both looked backward toward ancient Egypt and forward into science fiction. In addition, Ra documented his music in very erratic fashion on his Saturn label, generally not listing recording dates and giving inaccurate personnel information, so one could not really tell how advanced some of his innovations were. It has taken a lot of time to sort it all out (although Robert L. Campbell's Sun Ra discography has done a miraculous job). In addition, while there were times when Sun Ra's aggregation performed brilliantly, on other occasions they were badly out of tune and showcasing absurd vocals. Near the end of his life, Ra was featuring plate twirlers and fire eaters in his colorful show as a sort of Ed Sullivan for the 1980s.

But despite all of the trappings, Sun Ra was a major innovator. Born Herman Sonny Blount in Birmingham, AL (although he claimed he was from another planet), Ra led his own band for the first time in 1934. He freelanced at a variety of jobs in the Midwest, working as a pianist/arranger with Fletcher Henderson in 1946-1947. He appeared on some obscure records as early as 1948, but really got started around 1953. Leading a big band (which he called the Arkestra) in Chicago, Ra started off playing advanced bop, but early on was open to the influences of other cultures, experimenting with primitive electric keyboards, and playing free long before the avant-garde got established.

After moving to New York in 1961, Ra performed some of his most advanced work. In 1970, he relocated his group to Philadelphia, and in later years alternated free improvisations and mystical group chants with eccentric versions of swing tunes, sounding like a spaced-out Fletcher Henderson orchestra. Many of his most important sidemen were with him on and off for decades (most notably John Gilmore on tenor, altoist Marshall Allen, and baritonist Pat Patrick). Ra, who recorded for more than a dozen labels, has been well served by Evidence's extensive repackaging of many of his Saturn dates, which have at last been outfitted with correct dates and personnel details. In the late '90s, other labels began reissuing albums from Sun Ra's vast catalog, an effort that will surely continue for years to come. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi