Thursday, May 11, 2006


following his triumphant tour of Saturn and Jupiter, Sun Ra returns to the earthly plane for a RAdiocentric festival. This word just received via emanations from the DimeADozen Jazz Forum:

32-HOUR RADIO MARATHON MONDAY, MAY 22nd at midnight to TUESDAY, MAY 23rd, 8:20 AM
89.9 FM NYC & streaming live across the galaxies

The Sun Ra Institute and WKCR-FM are proud to announce the Sun RaArrival Day Celebration, a 32-hour radio marathon featuring work ofthe innovative and iconoclastic composer, bandleader, and keyboardistSun Ra. Each segment of the festival will focus on a specific featureof Ra's musical legacy: Standards and Ballads, The Swing Tradition,Solo Piano and Poetry, Late 1950's and Early Rarities, Tone Science,Singers, and more.

The Arrival Day Celebration will include exclusiverecordings from WKCR's archives as well as live special guestinterviews with Marshall Allen, Director of the Sun Ra Arkestra, andArkestra members of the past, present and future.

Born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Alabama on May 22, 1914, he was nicknamed Sonny from his youth. He later abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra ("Ra" being the name ofthe ancient Egyptian god of the Sun). He did not consider himself"born"; rather, he "arrived" on the planet, entering via Birmingham.

From the '50's to the '90's Sun Ra led a large ensemble with a fluidlineup under a variety of names: The Solar Myth Arkestra, TheIntergalactic Space Research Arkestra, and many others. Sun Radeparted on Memorial Day - May 30, 1993.

Sun Ra's prolific achievements on Planet Earth have been widelyacclaimed and recorded in documentaries, books, and a feature film titled "Space is The Place". He founded his record label, El SaturnRecords, in the 1950s, and proceeded to unleash nearly 200 fiercelyindividualistic and extremely diverse albums on an unsuspecting andlargely unprepared public. He also recorded for a handful of majorlabels, and he attained widespread notoriety from his legendaryconcerts, radio, and television appearances. His interstellarmusical, poetic, linguistic, and spiritual explorations areunparalleled in the history of modern music and culture.

With The Arkestra, Sun Ra gave astonishing performances around theworld for decades. He was always accompanied by stellar musicians infantastic costumes, and a joyful atmosphere of mischievous spacecamaraderie was ever present. His music is most often regarded as'Jazz', though it spans the full spectrum from Swing to Space, withballads, show tunes, hard- and post-bop, exoticism, funk, energymusic, and electronic hyperdrive.


The broadcast will begin with a variety of great Sun Ra sounds towarm up this event.

5-8 AM Sun Ra Plays Standards and Ballads The Daybreak Express show will feature Sun Ra's performances ofstandards, ballads, and show tunes.

8-9:30 AM The Swing Tradition The Bird Flight slot will be an extension of the previous show, butthis time focusing on the compositions of Jelly Roll Morton, DukeEllington, Fletcher Henderson, and others. Little known facts:Fletcher himself once gave up his own piano chair to Sun Ra. Sun Rawrote charts that Coleman Hawkins had difficulty playing. Monk wasimpressed, too.

9:30 AM-Noon Solo Piano and Poetry Our morning Classical show will present Sun Ra's solo pianorecordings, including an exclusive performance at WKCR in July 1977.This segment will also incorporate Sun Ra's extensive poetic works.

Noon-5PM Omniversity: Late 1950's and Early Rarities Phil Schaap will shine the spotlight on Sun Ra's elemental work fromthe later 1950's. Following this segment, we will shift into a surveyof the very earliest recordings of Sun Ra, arranging for singers andperforming as a sideman. Phil will be joined by a panel of scholarsand band members, presenting the rarest of Sun Ra sides.

5-8 PM Tone Science The synthesizer and abstract works of Sun Ra. Tune in for some ofthe most adventurous recordings of Sun Ra's career. This segment willinclude both solo synthesizer performances as well as those with anensemble.

8 PM-1 AM From the Ark The evening segment is expected to be the highlight of the marathon.We will play live recordings and interviews, with visits from specialguests and a focus on materials from WKCR's own "Arkives", as well asa collection gathered by The Sun Ra Institute. We will take sometime to honor the current living-and-breathing Sun Ra Arkestra, underthe masterful direction of Marshall Allen, and celebrate Marshall's82nd birthday a few days early. Stay tuned for extra features in theworks, including remote broadcast from the Sun Ra House inPhiladelphia.

1-2 AM The Singers This hour will give a closer look at Sun Ra's work with vocalists,including his R&B and Doo-wop efforts.

2-5 AM Overnight Sun Ra
5-8:20 AM Daybreak Sun Ra Sun Ra will again be the focus of Transfigured Night and DaybreakExpress.

1 comment:

AaronBarlow said...

Wow! I listened to Sun Ra in the mid-sevenites at the old 5 Spot on the Lower East Side, where his band was much too big for the stage.

Even now, one of my all-time favorite LPs is his "Sun Song." And "Space Is the Place"... well, what more can one say?