March 1, 2015

Sun Ra Sunday

While I was record shopping in Birmingham, Alabama I made a point of driving out to the Elmwood Cemetery to visit Sun Ra's grave. The humble marker was not easy to find--even with a map!--but it was incredibly moving (if a little bit creepy) to be standing at the site of Sonny's earthly remains.

Someone had left behind a pair of joss sticks (which I was unable to get lit in the wind) and some plastic flowers atop a small pile of pinecones. I found a pinecone and put it on the pile and looked around, surrounded by miles and miles of dead bodies, their grey stone sentries looming across the landscape. I'm pretty sure this not where Sonny wanted to wind up.

I swept off the gravestone and paid my respects. I apologized for letting him down with the Sun Ra Sunday project--and, I swear, I could hear him laughing at me down there under the ground. Well, maybe I'll get back to it one of these days. Making this pilgrimage was inspiring--and there's not much time left for me on this planet!

In the meanwhile, check out Sam Byrd's excellent post over at World of Abstract Dreams for an excellent overview of the recent iTunes-only remasters (which I don't have). There's also another vinyl-only release out on Roaratorio, a previously unheard studio album from 1974 called, Sign of the Myth. You don't need me to tell you that it is essential listening; if you are reading this, you need it.

Sun Ra may be gone, but his music lives on.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Nice photo! I hope you do get back to the project...give him some more to laugh about.

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2015-03-02:

*Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: Brooklyn Babylon
*Daniel Barbiero and Jimmy Ghaphery: The Convergence of Parallel Lines
*Anthony Braxton: Composition 96
*Anthony Braxton/Peter N. Wilson: Duets Hamburg 1991
*Anthony Braxton Falling River Music Trio: 2015-02-23 Tuscaloosa, AL (wav)
*Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: The Middle Picture
*Tadd Dameron with John Coltrane: Mating Call
*Mary Halvorson Reverse Blue: 2015-01-09 NYC (CDR)
*Charles Mingus: Cumbia & Jazz Fusion
*Tony Oxley/Derek Bailey Quartet: 1993-09 Crawley, England (CDR)
*William Parker/In Order to Survive: Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy
*George Russell Sextet: 1964-07-03 Newport Jazz Festival
*Wadada Leo Smith: Ten Freedom Summers (discs 3, 4)
*Sun Ra and His Astro Infinity Arkestra: Strange Strings (2014 remaster)
*Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Sign of the Myth
*Cecil Taylor European Quintet: 1997-11-16 Wuppertal, Germany (CDR)
*McCoy Tyner: Today and Tomorrow (selections)
*Various artists: Company 5
*Caravan: In the Land of Grey and Pink (side 2)
*Ceramic Dog: Your Turn
*D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah
*Bob Dylan and The Band: The Basement Tapes- Complete (discs 1, 2)
*Earth Wind & Fire: Faces
*Jimi Hendrix: West Coast Seattle Boy (deluxe ed.) (discs 3, 4)
*Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1968-08-11 Davenport, IA (CDR)
*Rascals: Freedom Suite (side 4)
*Rascals: Peaceful World
*Smokey Robinson: Quiet Storm (selections)
*Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St. (deluxe ed., remastered) (disc 1)
*Rolling Stones: Live at Leeds (1982-07-25) (disc 1)
*Kelley Stoltz: Double Exposure
*Who: The Who Sell Out (1995 reissue)
*Hank Williams: The Original Singles Collection (disc 2)
*Robert Wyatt: Different Every Time (disc 2)

Reading List 2015-03-02:

*Erikson, Steven. Reaper’s Gale (reread/in progress)
*Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. Planned Obsolescence (in progress)
*Ratey, John J., and Eric Hagerman. Spark (in progress)