Talk:Sun Ra

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Documentary?[edit]

There was a documentary film in black and white, but this is not Space is the Place which came out in 1974. Harry Potter.

Probably Edward Bland's late 50s The Cry of Jazz? Pediod interest only with fragmentary grainy footage. AllyD 18:49, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
The recent BBC documentary called Brother From Another Planet went into great and fascinating detail about all aspects of this amazing, enigmatic man's life. His early stage name is there given as the prophetic Sonny Ray. Nuttyskin 03:07, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

what's wrong with a little chaos? I'm sure Sonny would have approved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.230.145.79 (talk) 17:20, 19 June 2008 (UTC)


Incorrect characterisation[edit]

I replaced the characterisation of the 1960s music as chaotic with an attempt to indicate the new forms of compositional structuring: both in terms of tape delay/editing and in terms of the bracketed ensemble blowing. IMO the 1960s section needs more, though, on the important new opportunities opened by Ra's 1961-67 music. AllyD 18:39, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Recommended Recordings[edit]

This section should be edited for WP:NPOV. Encyclopedias can explain which recordings are considered important, by whom they are considered important, or why they are considered important, but an Encyclopedia should not itself recommend recordings. I could simply change the wording, but it would be better for someone who knows the subject to expand it a bit to add context and explanations. Dystopos 20:07, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

I've cleaned it up a bit, by pointing out recordings that are considered by music critics and fans of Sun Ra's work to be among his best albums. It isn't a great improvement, and since there were previous sections that went into a bit of detail about Sun Ra's different musical periods, I thought that it would be a bit redundant to say that, for example, recordings like Super-Sonic Jazz and Jazz In Silhouette find Sun Ra employing polytonality and modality several years before musicians like Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman would do so. This section could still use a bit of work, as far as I'm concerned, though mostly in regard to providing citations, if it is felt that they are necessary. Kevinloy 01:23, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Electric bassists called Clarke?[edit]

Someone had placed "Stan Clarke bass guitar dates unknown" in the list of notable Arkestra musicians, presumably meaning Stanley Clarke? However I've removed the name, as I can find no other references to an Arkestra bassist named Stan Clarke - though there was Steve Clarke on a couple of late 1970s recordings (and co-composer of "UFO"). AllyD 18:49, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Saturnian ?[edit]

There's a category called "saturnian jazz musicians" ? :P Encyclopedic, eh.. - Mau 22:51, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

FA[edit]

I don't think this article can really acheive FA as it is. In order to do this, it would need all its material to be sourced, and that's pretty far away. It would also need pictures.--SidiLemine 11:28, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

"Arkestra"[edit]

Anyone know where this term comes from? "arka" is a Sanskrit word for "sun". . . Andrew Ollett 16:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

That's a really good catch. I've been reading Szwed's book on Sun Ra and that was not mentioned. It might be possible that Sun Ra didn't know that. He did however remark that the word "Arkestra" began and ended with "RA". In fact, "arka" is really rich with meanings,including musical and sonic: from Capeller's English-Sanskrit dictionary (http://webapps.uni-koeln.de/tamil/)

14 arka m. beam, ray; the sun, fire; praise, song, sound, roar; singer; N. of a plant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.232.129.2 (talk) 20:33, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

You're making it too hard. "Ark" as in "Ark", such as "Noah's Ark" or the "Space Ark" to take people to other star systems (or bring them here) and "estra" as in orchestra. 24.27.31.170 (talk) 18:14, 29 July 2011 (UTC) Eric

Quite right, Eric. Arkestra is obviously a portmanteau, combining ark and orchestra. The article as it currently reads, however, says only that Arkestra is a "deliberate misspelling" of orchestra. Not only is this not quite accurate, it's also--not to put too fine a point on it--idiotic. TheScotch (talk) 12:44, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

The portmanteau explanation is probably partially true, but I believe Sun Ra was well aware of the other implications of the name he chose for his band. His philosophy may have been outrageous, but it was intricately conceived and executed, and everything he did, from the music, to his poetry and lyrics, to the costuming, to his stage setups, etc., etc. was deliberately overlain with multiple levels of symbolism. Sun Ra said as much himself, both in interviews and to audiences.
I certainly agree, though, that "arkestra" was more than simply a "deliberate misspelling" of "orchestra". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.95.43.249 (talk) 23:27, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Please add to musicians[edit]

Clifford Jarvis, drums, (1961-76, '83) obit: [1] 72.230.22.133 21:55, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Wow![edit]

I'm so impressed by this article, and I've learned a great deal from it. Well done to all involved! Tree Kittens 07:03, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Naming convention?[edit]

If his legal name was "Sun Ra", shouldn't the article refer to him as such, rather than as "Blount"? Also see WP:ID. -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 22:25, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I came in here to ask the same thing, and agree that "Blount" seems out of place. --Ninly 21:02, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
The text of the article should refer to its subject as "Sun Ra", not "Ra", and not "Blount". Herman Blount adopted the name Sun Ra, but it wasn't that his first name was Sun and his last name was Ra. More like he had only one name, like Cher or Madonna, but the name had two parts. As corroborating evidence, here is a New York Times article about Marshall Allen. In the New York Times they always refer to men as "Mr. whatever" instead of "whatever", for example "Mr. Allen", but the article refers to Sun Ra as "Sun Ra", not "Mr. Ra". — Mudwater 01:23, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I've updated the article to refer to Sun Ra as "Sun Ra" instead of "Ra". — Mudwater 13:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

I suppose this is the same topic coming around again but I've reverted a bunch of changes from "Blount" to "Sun Ra" today: [2]. I think the Blount naming is correct until he actually becomes Sun Ra. Otherwise it becomes nonsensical, for example when the article says "... and Blount took over leadership of the group, renaming it the Sonny Blount Orchestra... Though the first edition of the Sonny Blount Orchestra was not financially successful, they earned positive notice..." So that was the name he chose at the time. AllyD (talk) 17:40, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

"Replace this image" image[edit]

I'm going to put the "replace this image" back, if that's okay - I'm hoping someone actually has an image :) -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 16:30, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Is there a Wikipedia or WikiProject Biography guideline for the use, or non-use, of the "replace this image" image? I personally find it distracting. While I agree that an image would significantly improve the article, I think it's assumed that if someone has a suitable free image, they should upload it and use it in a biography article such as this. Also, most people who look at a page are readers, not editors, and I don't think it helps them to include this notice, which is quite prominent. — Mudwater 17:17, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Dunno if there's a guideline or not. It is prominent, which I think is the point. It serves the purpose of aleting editors that the image is needed, but I think it also is meant to entice readers to become editors :) I'm not adamant that it has to be there, but maybe we could leave it up for a little while? -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 17:46, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I realize it's for a good cause, and what you're saying makes some sense, but my preference would be for the image be removed, for the reasons I mentioned. I'd be interested in the opinions of other editors also. By the way, when you say "a little while", did you have a particular time frame in mind? — Mudwater 19:39, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes - indefinitely. =)
Not really - a week or two? But I'm going to see if there's been any discussion about the use of the image in articles because you brought up some good points. If I don't find anything (or don't get around to it), feel free to delete around the end of the year. And or if any other editors of this article chime in? -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 20:08, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks to Pandelis karayorgis for adding an image to the article! — Mudwater 01:56, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Tributes section[edit]

This whole section smacks of {{trivia}} and, imo, should be deleted. Thoughts? -- SatyrTN (talk / contribs) 16:43, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Yup, it's full of wrong-end-of-the-telescope stuff. The fact that Joe Bloggs like Artist X may be a relevant fact about Joe Bloggs but it is irrelevant to Artist X. AllyD (talk) 17:54, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

maybe I'm not seeing it, but I see references to a "parker" who was a teacher, but I can't find the entire name in the article. I don't think I'm misreading. Thank you.



Cleanup and copy editing run[edit]

I went through and did a pretty major cleanup run. Among other things, I copy edited the text, merged some paragraphs, removed much of the crufty influence section, and removed many references to John Szwed in the article that did not add to its general quality, that seems, IMO, to merely be pushing the view of him as an expert. Please comment here if you take issue with the edit or have ideas about future things to do. I have found, and am in the process of finding, more references to source currently unsourced or dubiously sourced claims. --Kakofonous (talk) 20:23, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Much improved. The Musicians list probably needs some attention - some mislinks, some names I don't recognise from records, etc. AllyD (talk) 20:49, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

External link suggestion[edit]

As an editor at Crawdaddy!, and to comply with COI guidelines, I am not posting the link to this article about Sun Ra. However, I would like to recommend it on its merits, and hope that an editor will find the time to examine the piece and—if he or she sees fit—post it to the external links section. I appreciate your time. Crawdaddy! (favorable) [3]
Mike harkin (talk) 22:49, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Arthur Doyle?[edit]

Is there evidence that saxophonist Arthur Doyle worked with Sun Ra? Trumpeter Arthur Hoyle did, and he isn't on the musician list.-RLCampbell (talk) 01:17, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Cryptorchidism[edit]

"Also by his teens, Sun Ra suffered from cryptorchidism" As far as I know, cryptorchidism is a congenital health condition, so the idea that he started "suffering" in his teens seems to be rather confused.Jimjamjak (talk) 13:29, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

So which is it, a testicular hernia or a heart condition? I know my balls were suffering in my teens. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.171.176.134 (talk) 10:53, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Neither. Cryptorchidism refers to an undescended testicle (or testicles). It is most frequently congenital, but has been know to occur as late as early adulthood, in rare cases. See cryptorchidism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.95.43.249 (talk) 23:08, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Strict Code?[edit]

I have also read that Sun Ra did indeed force many of his musicians to live by the same strict code that he did.

He was known to lock musicians up in the closet for showing up late to rehearsal if they had been partying the night before etc... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.118.168.34 (talk) 14:21, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Enforcing discipline (expecting people to show up) is not the same as enforcing morality (expecting people not to get effed up). As the old Master Chief used to say, "Drink he may, but swim he must!" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.171.176.134 (talk) 10:59, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Is the Scott Yanow quote really necessary?[edit]

C'mon, the guy is a known conservative hypocrite. I Don't think his name should be on an article about Sun Ra. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.166.139.210 (talk) 18:44, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Unknown Music[edit]

" Here's what John Gilmore has to say: "I've got drawers full of music.... For a period of time, we would go to different towns and Ra would write something special for the town. Like Silver Spring, Maryland. He'd write maybe seven compositions about Silver Spring and, man, the stuff was so beautiful. But we only played them when we played in Silver Spring, you know? We'd go back over tapes and say, 'Wow, what is that and what is this?'" We even forgot the names of some of them, because we only played them that one time." [John Gilmore, quoted by John Corbett]" at 'http://crosstowntorrents.org/showthread.php?722-Sun-Ra!' I don't know if this source is good enough for wikipedia. Some of these one-shot compositions appear here and there on concert bootlegs, etc. as "Unknown". 24.27.31.170 (talk) 03:34, 23 July 2011 (UTC) Eric

Philosophy and "bear hugs"[edit]

From the "Philosophy" section: "Sun Ra even came up once, behind a frightened young audience member, grabbed him in a bear hug, and whispered this in his ear, while the whole band chanted and played along, in a circle around his table, with the rest of the audience watching on in amusement."

He didn't do this just "once" -- it was a frequent part of his performance. I attended a number of Sun Ra performances and witnessed similar antics at least three times, once with a "(not-)frightened young audience member" seated in the row directly in front of me. This during a concert in, IIRC, 1985, at the Hult Performing Arts Center's Silva Concert Hall, in Eugene, Oregon. On another occasion the drummer (who I think was Buster Smith at the time) sat down next to me and my girlfriend, and proceded to cast her numerology chart -- while the rest of the band was filing on stage and starting to play. He took his time about it, finished up, then went to join them, and nobody onstage, least of all Sun Ra took any special notice of the fact that their main drummer was showing up 10 minutes late in an already running performance.

Band/audience interaction was a big part of Sun Ra concerts, and it was quite frequently "up front and personal."74.95.43.249 (talk) 23:02, 24 April 2014 (UTC)