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Why Sun Ra Matters

Sun Ra Heads

The possible has been tried and failed. Now it's time to try the impossible. p

                                                      - - - Sun Ra


Wikipedia describes Sun Ra as... "an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his experimental music, "cosmic" philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical performances. For much of his career, Sun Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up."


Why should a relatively obscure, Jazz musician still have an impact on American culture 24 years after his death?                                      


Why Sun Ra Matters!!!


    ▪    He was a protege of Fletcher Henderson; the inventor of Swing Music
    ▪    He was one of the first artists use electronic keyboards & synthesizers
    ▪    He was an early R&B pioneer
    ▪    He was an outstanding pianist
    ▪    He was an innovative composer, finding musical answers beyond Bebop
    ▪    He was a brilliant bandleader
    ▪    He changed his name, embraced an identity for himself & never looked back
    ▪    He was a modernist poet with a simple, but strangely powerful philosophy
    ▪    He was one of the first artists to project films onstage during his performances
    ▪    He was an early perveyor of multi-media performance
    ▪    He was among of the first Black artists to publicly embrace ancient Egypt as Black
    ▪    He embraced pageantry & ritual, innovating in the world of fashion & the stage
    ▪    He owned his own record company with a catalog of more than 100 records
    ▪    He was an entrepreneur determined to be free to choose his own path
    ▪    He influenced many during the 1960s-70s, including Parliament-Funkadelic
    ▪   His work continues to influence current artists like Solange, Lady Gaga & Bjork
    ▪   His Arkestra led by Marshall Allen continues to perform worldwide
    ▪   He managed to do all of the above against all odds with meager finances



Sun Ra In Vernon ParkIn honor of his contributions and enduring impact, Philadelphia Jazz Project presents Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra. This concert series features 8 performances between December 2017 and June 2018; at some of the region's most important venues including; The Barnes Foundation, Ardmore Music Hall, Johnny Brenda's, The Planetarium of The Franklin Institute and World Cafe Live.


The concert series is hosted by WRTI radio deejay, J. Michael Harrison and will feature such perfomers as DM Hotep, Kim Pedro Rodriguez, Saudah Al Akbar, Alexa Gold, Tara Middleton, Bethlehem, Ram Riches, Dan Blacksberg, Mad Matt Swayzie, V. Shane Frederick, Yolanda Wisher, Terry Lawson, Space Whale Orchestra, Kevin Valentine, Owen Brown, Kevin Diehl, Raphael Xavier, Larry Price and more.


Join us in celebrating the vision, genius and creativity of Sun Ra.

For More Info On The Satellites Concert Series Click Here



Check Out Articles About Why Sun Ra Still Matters:


Why Is Sun Ra Suddenly Having His Moment?

Afrofuturism Takes Flight: From Sun Ra to Janelle Monáe

Sun Ra Changed My Life



SunRa-at-the-New-Foxhole-1978For more information about Sun Ra:


Sun Ra Estate Website
Sun Ra Arkestra Website
Sun Ra Facebook
Mission Creep Sun Ra Resources
Pitchfork's Essential Sun Ra Music
The Sun Ra Music Archive
Perfect Sound Forever Sun Ra Article
University of Chicago Sun Ra Exhibit





Stay tuned for details about this series!!!


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Participating Venues:


Satellites Logo     Barnes Logo     Ardmore Music Hall Logo     Johnny Brenda's Logo

Franklin Institute Logo   World Cafe Live Logo  PJP Logo


Photo Credits: Alonzo Jennings


Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.


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On my first record with him, I used no notes, just sound... I never played as powerfully as I did with Sunny Murray... he plays pulse, not beats.
Byard Lancaster

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.