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Sun Ra

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November 7, 1988 | DON SNOWDEN
Midway through Sun Ra's opening set at a jam-packed Palomino Friday, the venerable pianist-bandleader stepped to the mike and sang: "This place is not my home / This world is strange to me." While those lines aptly summarized the "space is the place" ethos guiding Sun Ra and his 16-piece Cosmic Love Adventure Arkestra, the 90-minute performance leaned heavily on the very terrestrial early jazz styles that he cut his teeth on more than 40 years ago.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Amiri Baraka died Thursday after weeks of failing health, a family spokeperson confirmed. He was 79. A playwright, poet, critic and activist, Baraka was one of the most prominent and controversial African American voices in the world of American letters. He was born Everett LeRoi Jones on Oct. 7, 1934, in Newark, N.J. A gifted student, he graduated from high school two years early and went to college at New York University and Howard University. After serving in the Air Force for more than two years, Baraka -- then Jones -- was dishonorably discharged for reading communist texts.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 21, 1997 | DON HECKMAN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Sun Ra, a pianist and composer, was a legendary jazz avant-gardist. He also was one of the most curious artists to ever appear--in jazz or elsewhere. Ra claimed that he was from the planet Saturn, that he was a secret agent for the Creator and that his music--especially as it was revealed by his "intergalactic band," the Myth-Science (or Solar) Arkestra--built a connection to another dimension and provided a metaphysical bridge to the cosmos.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Music Critic
It began 30 years ago when Charlie Murrow -- a musical environmentalist, sound artist, chanter and tooter, inventor of the heart-beat machine instrument and event organizer extraordinaire -- gathered like-minded Manhattan chanters and tooters to celebrate the summer solstice in Central Park. That concept then spread to places like Chicago's Navy Pier, Minneapolis and Copenhagen. In 1989, Murrow shepherded Sun Ra and his Arkestra to Battery Park for a “Harbor” Symphony that included boat horns blasting away on barges.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 1989 | DON SNOWDEN
Sun Ra made the connection between the cosmic and the down-to-earth at the Palomino, where the jazz visionary and his 17-piece Arkestra offered a tribute to the music from Walt Disney movies--an outgrowth of his participation in last year's heralded "Stay Awake" album, a collection of Disney music performed by diverse artists. Ra bypassed a lot of the familiar standards Monday to focus on "stellar" selections like "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and "Second Star to the Right."
ENTERTAINMENT
September 24, 1986 | DON SNOWDEN
Unpredictability was always a key component in the unique spectacles staged by Sun Ra but the veteran jazz bandleader's recent local appearances had complacently settled into a formulaic pattern of set musical and theatrical pieces. The pianist/composer reintroduced the element of surprise to his two-hour opening set at Club Lingerie on Sunday by focusing on the side of his repertoire rooted in the classic big band sound.
NEWS
May 31, 1993 | From Associated Press
Sun Ra, the influential pianist and orchestra leader noted for his intergalactic treks into jazz and avant-garde music, died Sunday after a series of strokes. He was 79. Ra died at Baptist Medical Center-Princeton, where he had been hospitalized since January because of the strokes and chronic circulatory problems, hospital spokesman Greg Bryant said.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 2005 | Steve Hochman, Special to The Times
Rock history tends to view the MC5 as an influential though ill-fated '60s proto-punk band that pushed for political revolution. But at root, all the Detroit group wanted was to get people dancing. Jazz history tends to see the Sun Ra Arkestra as one of the most colorful entries in the free music revolution. But at root, the ensemble often just wanted to get people swinging.
MAGAZINE
March 14, 1993
The majority of humor theorists swallow whole the sacrosanct doctrine that comedy always begins with conflict. This misguided dogma provides justification for boorish misanthropes to transform their neuroses and pathology into sadistic humor. Higher levels of humor exist within the realm of wordplay and the non sequitur. Give me Samuel Beckett, Zippy the Pinhead or Sun Ra over "Married . . . With Children" or "Saturday Night Live" any day. PETER STENSHOEL Santa Monica
ENTERTAINMENT
May 16, 1987 | THOMAS K. ARNOLD
When Sun Ra and Phil Alvin appear in concert together Sunday night at the Belly Up Tavern, local pop music audiences will be able to decide for themselves whether mixed musical marriages can work. Without question, it's a pretty bizarre pairing. Sun Ra, a pianist, composer and bandleader whose career dates to the 1940s, has long been one of the leading figures in avant-garde jazz. His music is boundless; it is wholly improvisational and highly complex.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 26, 2013
Now in its second decade, the trio Medeski Martin and Wood is often lumped into a "jam band" ghetto, but within the organ group's thick bond to the almighty groove there are nods toward the interstellar explorations of Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and other wonders of intense, genre-blind improvisation. John Medeski's lush, contemplative solo piano album, "A Different Time," only underscores the group's ability to surprise. Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Royce Hall. 340 Royce Drive, L.A. Fri., 8 p.m. $15-$50 cap.ucla.edu.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 22, 2012 | By Sharon Mizota
A remarkable, immersive installation at REDCAT is a collaboration between San Francisco artist Rigo 23 (born Ricardo Gouveia) and Zapatista artists and craftspeople from Chiapas, in southern Mexico. With the seemingly incongruous title “Autonomous InterGalactic Space Program,” it uses the language of interstellar travel to announce a fundamental departure from the world as we know it. Whatever you think of the Zapatista communities, there's no denying they are a radical experiment.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2012
JAZZ Trafficking in a free-flowing blend of jazz, hip-hop and Afrobeat, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble can resemble the world's funkiest marching band one minute, an unhinged New Orleans funeral procession the next. The group's recent collaborators have included Maxwell, Erykah Badu and Gorillaz, but this performance will feature an appearance by the group's patriarch, veteran Chicago trumpeter and Sun Ra collaborator Phil Cohran, who is father to the ensemble's eight brothers. The Exchange, 618 S. Spring St. L.A. 8 p.m. Thu. $30. exchangela.com.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 2005 | Steve Hochman, Special to The Times
Rock history tends to view the MC5 as an influential though ill-fated '60s proto-punk band that pushed for political revolution. But at root, all the Detroit group wanted was to get people dancing. Jazz history tends to see the Sun Ra Arkestra as one of the most colorful entries in the free music revolution. But at root, the ensemble often just wanted to get people swinging.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 14, 2000 | DON HECKMAN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Sun Ra was a jazz transcendentalist, his music shaped by a spiritual belief that reached out into his highly personal vision of the universe. He was also a humorist, a futurist and one of the music world's most remarkably original, and at times quixotic, characters. Determined to go his own way, he functioned at the outer edges of jazz for most of his career, leading a colorful musical ensemble he called the Arkestra.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 1997 | MIKE BOEHM
As one of reggae's great record producers and songwriters, Lee "Scratch" Perry helped foster Jamaica's early wave of Rastafarian musical prophets, including Bob Marley and the Wailers. From his backyard studio, the Black Ark, came mid-'70s "dub style" recordings whose distinctive, wall-shaking bass has an echo in hip-hop. Perry's echoing ambiences and cut-and-paste sound insertions and deletions were a prelude to the now-popular art of remixing.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 26, 2013
Now in its second decade, the trio Medeski Martin and Wood is often lumped into a "jam band" ghetto, but within the organ group's thick bond to the almighty groove there are nods toward the interstellar explorations of Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and other wonders of intense, genre-blind improvisation. John Medeski's lush, contemplative solo piano album, "A Different Time," only underscores the group's ability to surprise. Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Royce Hall. 340 Royce Drive, L.A. Fri., 8 p.m. $15-$50 cap.ucla.edu.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2012
JAZZ Trafficking in a free-flowing blend of jazz, hip-hop and Afrobeat, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble can resemble the world's funkiest marching band one minute, an unhinged New Orleans funeral procession the next. The group's recent collaborators have included Maxwell, Erykah Badu and Gorillaz, but this performance will feature an appearance by the group's patriarch, veteran Chicago trumpeter and Sun Ra collaborator Phil Cohran, who is father to the ensemble's eight brothers. The Exchange, 618 S. Spring St. L.A. 8 p.m. Thu. $30. exchangela.com.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 21, 1997 | DON HECKMAN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Sun Ra, a pianist and composer, was a legendary jazz avant-gardist. He also was one of the most curious artists to ever appear--in jazz or elsewhere. Ra claimed that he was from the planet Saturn, that he was a secret agent for the Creator and that his music--especially as it was revealed by his "intergalactic band," the Myth-Science (or Solar) Arkestra--built a connection to another dimension and provided a metaphysical bridge to the cosmos.
NEWS
May 31, 1993 | From Associated Press
Sun Ra, the influential pianist and orchestra leader noted for his intergalactic treks into jazz and avant-garde music, died Sunday after a series of strokes. He was 79. Ra died at Baptist Medical Center-Princeton, where he had been hospitalized since January because of the strokes and chronic circulatory problems, hospital spokesman Greg Bryant said.
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