Friday, July 2, 2010

Sun Ra : Interviews & Essays (Shindig Review)

Thanks to Thomas and Headpress.

John Sinclair ( Ed )
Sun Ra : Interviews & Essays

Some 17 years after Sun Ra left this planet
for Saturn on May 30th 1993 there's no sign of any let
up in the fascination generated by the mystique and the
legend of Le Sonny Ra. Compiled and edited as a labour of
love by John Sinclair underground activist, once upon a time
manager of the MC5 and director of the Ann Arbor Blues &
Jazz Festival and, most important of all for the purposes of
this book, fan, supporter and associate of Sun Ra
Interviews & Essays is both a fascinating and
long overdue companion piece to John Szwed's monumental
biography of Sun Ra Space Is The Place and a
welcome addition to the comparatively small amount of
literature available on Sun Ra considering his iconic status
as jazz's most celebrated extra terrestial and his
prolific legacy of recordings.

With its variety of sources and authors one of the
particular strengths of this anthology is the refreshing
variety of viewpoints and angles it approaches its subject
from. Notable items of interest include John Sinclair's
interview with Sun Ra from the Detroit Sun in
1966, insights into Sun Ra's various soujourns in New
York, Oakland and Philadelphia from David Henderson,
an appreciation of Sun Ra by Amiri Baraka plus the
latter's epic poem 'Word From Sun Ra', Ben
Edmonds' account of seeing Sun Ra & The Arkestra and
The MC5 at Detroit's Grande Ballroom in June 1969 and a
conversation with long serving Arkestra trumpeter Michael
Ray. Elsewhere, memories of Sun Ra & The Arkestra's
residency at the Detroit Jazz Center in December 1980 are
revisited, John Sinclair and Wayne Kramer discuss 'The
Great And Wondrous Sun Ra' plus there are interviews
with Jerry Dammers and Sun Ra's confidant and
collaborator Haf-fa Rool before the collection closes with
John Sinclair's obituary for Sun Ra originally published
in the New Orleans Times.
As Peter Dennett of Sun Ra reissue label Art Yard says
in his introduction '( Sun Ra's ) extraordinary work
and time on this planet have yet to be fully
appreciated'. The arrival of Interviews
& Essays can only help further
the appreciation and understanding of the unique genius
of Sun Ra and in the process remind one and all that space
is still the place !

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thank you for reading, and for your feedback i bow