Monday, May 26, 2008


The Australian radio program The Night Air hepped me to

"The Other Worlds of Sun Ra,"

their documentary about Sun Ra, the jazzman from outer space, and truly one of the most innovative, and bizarre, figures in 20th century music. The show is in celebration of his birthday, or, as Ra would call it, his "arrival day," the day he arrived on planet Earth from Saturn, a planet noted for it's progressive jazz scene. We first wrote about Sonny here but if you're new to the unique universe of Sun Ra, the radio doc, on-line for a month, is a highly recommended overview. And if you find yourself craving more:

"Message To The Earth-Man" "...from the Sun-Man," from "The Singles" collection; this crazed vocal number was someone's idea of a possible hit single? Sun Ra really did believe in the commercial potential of his music, hence:

"There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)"
- from the 1978 album "Lanquidity," Sun Ra's idea of an accessible funky groove album; this low-key funk song sounds like schizophrenic voices whispering in your head.

God's Private Eye - Moog solo - utterly berzerk synth/keyboard freakout.

"Outer Spaceways, Inc." - catchy tune featuring vocalist June Tyson.

On a peer-to-peer, I found a remarkable unreleased recording from the early 1970s of Sun Ra & His Arkestra performing live at Widney High in Los Angeles.

"Calling Planet Earth" - June Tyson leads the introductory call.
"Theme of the Stargazers" - another Moog massacre; recording starts off crappy, but clears up.
"Dr. Reggie Scott monologue" - someone describing the unhappy end to this show.

Yes, this Widney High is the same school for mentally & physically disabled youth that, years later, would produce "The Kids of Widney High" albums of "special music from special kids."

The Kids of Widney High - "Insects"

Can you imagine if the two groups had joined forces?

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