Sun Ra was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synth player and poet, known for his experimental music, "cosmic" philosophy, prolific output and theatrical performances. 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, Herman Poole Blount became involved in the Chicago jazz scene during the late 1940s. He soon abandoned his birth name, taking the name Le Sony'r Ra, later shortened to Sun Ra. He developed a complex persona and an idiosyncratic, myth-based credo that would make him a pioneer of Afrofuturism. He claimed to be an alien from Saturn on a mission to preach peace, and throughout his life he publicly denied ties to his prior identity.
His widely eclectic and avant-garde music echoed the entire history of jazz, from ragtime and early New Orleans hot jazz, to swing music, bebop, free jazz and fusion. Sun Ra put out over 68 albums between 1956 and 1990. He died in 1993.
Directed by Marshall Allen, the Sun Ra Arkestra and big band bring the spirit of Sun Ra to London in May performing the jazz composer's classic works. Catch them live by checking out the tour dates and concert ticket information below on Stereoboard.