Four books of poetry by Sun Ra: two pamphlets that accompanied early Sun Ra albums issued in the late 1950s — Jazz By Sun Ra (1957) and Jazz In Silhouette (1959) — and two published more than a decade later later by Infinity Inc./Saturn Research: The Immeasurable Equation and the very rare Extensions Out: The Immeasurable Equation Vol. II.
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Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey
Catalog ID: SunRaCVD4
Squidco Product Code: 30184
Format: BOOKS x4
Packaging: 4 BOOKS IN A CLEAR PLASTIC BAG
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• Show Bio for Sun Ra
"Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra; May 22, 1914 - May 30, 1993) was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his experimental music, "cosmic philosophy", prolific output, and theatrical performances. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979. For much of his career, Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up.
Born and raised in Alabama, Blount would eventually become involved in the 1940s Chicago jazz scene. He soon abandoned his birth name, taking the name Sun Ra (after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun) and developing a complex persona and mythology that would make him a pioneer of Afrofuturism: he claimed he was an alien from Saturn on a mission to preach peace, and throughout his life he consistently denied any ties to his prior identity. His widely eclectic and exploratory music would eventually touch on virtually the entire history of jazz, ranging from swing music and bebop to free jazz and fusion, and his compositions ranged from keyboard solos to big bands of over 30 musicians. From the mid-1950s until his death, Ra led the musical collective The Arkestra (which featured artists such as Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, June Tyson throughout its various iterations). Its performances often included dancers and musicians dressed in elaborate, futuristic costumes inspired by ancient Egyptian attire and the space age.
Though his mainstream success was limited, Sun Ra was a prolific recording artist and frequent live performer, and remained both influential and controversial throughout his life for his music and persona. He is now widely considered an innovator; among his distinctions are his pioneering work in free improvisation and modal jazz and his early use of electronic keyboards. Over the course of his career, he recorded dozens of singles and over one hundred full-length albums, comprising well over 1000 songs, and making him one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th century. Following Sun Ra's death in 1993, the Arkestra continues to perform."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ra)
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"Sun Ra (1914-1993) is known as one of the great visionary musical figures of the 20th century, but the scope of his project goes much further than jazz and stage performance. An architect of what is now commonly referred to as Afrofuturism, Ra was also active on other fronts, including literature. In the 1950s, he wrote polemical tracts that he handed out and sometimes read at the Washington Park Forum (otherwise known as the Bug Club), an intellectual and religious venue for African Americans on Chicago's south side. Starting in the mid 1960s, Ra integrated proclamations and dramatic text into musical performances such as "My Brother The Wind."
Ra's poetry, which dates back to the earliest days of his life as a public figure, has remained a more obscure part of his output than his music, but it was clearly an essential component of his work and was in fact present as part of the design of his early LPs. He was fascinated by what he called "the multi-self words," summoning language's power to conjure the paradoxical, succinctly suggesting: "The idea that words/Can form themselves into the impossible/Then the way to the impossible/Is through the words." This exhibition, the first of its kind, considers Sun Ra's poetry on its own terms and in the context of his innovative DIY methods.
Mounted on the occasion of Corbett vs. Dempsey's release of four facsimile editions of Ra's poetry books, the show gathers original copies of these ultra-rare objects, as well as working materials used in their production. These publications include two liner note pamphlets that accompanied early records, Jazz By Sun Ra (1957) and Jazz In Silhouette (1959). In fact vinyl record packaging presented Ra with an opportune and unorthodox vehicle for the dissemination of his poetry. Later LPs on his own Saturn label often included poems in their design, hovering unexplained on the back covers.
Examples of these unique distribution devices are included in [this release]. The two remaining books were published by Ra's company Ihnfinity Inc./Saturn Research, both appearing in 1972. The Immeasurable Equation is his most widely seen poetry book, having appeared in a number of versions since its initial release, which was often sold from the stage by members of his band, the Arkestra. The most extensive of the books, Extensions Out: The Immeasurable Equation Vol. II is much more uncommon, having seen almost no distribution at the time. [...]"-Corbett vs. Dempsey
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