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One of jazz music's most entertaining and eccentric figures is profiledin Robert Mugge's hourlong, 1980 profile of the latebandleader-keyboardist-composer Sun Ra. "I don't consider myself one ofthe humans," he once said. "I'm a spiritual being," who was reputed toeschew the usual jazzman's indulgences of drugs and sex and who,despite the weird trappings (he and his big band, the IntergalacticOmniverse Arkestra, usually performed in glittery costumes thatcombined African, alien, and thrift-shop styles), infused his musicwith a strong sense of discipline and precision. Here we see Ra and theband rehearsing and performing; their "joyful noise" is free, sometimeschaotic, but also clearly blues-based, somewhat reminiscent of Monk orMingus (there's even a rendition of "'Round Midnight"). Ra is alsointerviewed surrounded by the Egyptian artifacts and antiquities thatwere an important element of his "mythocracy." He clearly loves havingan audience--and how can you not enjoy listening to a guy who alsochooses the White House as a backdrop for solemn pronouncements like"I'm not a part of history--I'm more a part of mystery, which is mystery"?
External linksSun Ra and his Intergalactic HarmoniesAn Interview with Sun Ra (1990)Space is the Place-Japanese translationSaturn Web: Sun Ra, the Arkestra & Free JazzSun Ra's complete online discography and forumSun Ra Art and Album CoversOfficial website of the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall AllenSun Ra page @ Weirdomusic.comSun Ra mailing list @ Yahoogroups