Herman "Sonny" Blount, from Alabama. His multi-faceted career as a jazz pianist/arranger/bandleader ranged from the swing era of the 1930's to the free jazz 1960's to the postmodern 1980's. His big band existed as a commune of sorts, living at various times in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. He was one of the first to use synthesizers in jazz; he also used early electric keyboards like the clavioline. Sometimes he'd drop his guard and talk to you like an earthling.

Sun Ra

a.k.a. Mr. Ra
Mr. Re
Mr. Mystery
Herman P. "Sonny" Blount
Sonny Lee
Le Sony'r Ra

Leader of the Arkestra--

a.k.a. The Solar Myth Arkestra
Cosmo Jet Set Arkestra
Myth-Science Arkestra
Intergalactic Research Arkestra
Astro-Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra

Born in 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama. Christian Name: Herman P. Blount
An experimental jazz composer and band leader. Had an alien abduction experience while in college at Alabama A and M. Claimed he received the instructions of his Calling as a Teacher at this time. Began routinely claiming his planet of origin as Saturn. This began a lifetime of study in what appears to be the history of black spacemen, transcendence and the evolution of a world where cars and luminescence(among other things) run on music.

He worked in nightclubs in Chicago in the 40's, played with Fletcher Henderson. Jailed as a conscientious objector during WW2. Began fronting bands in the 50's. Formed one of the earliest DIY record labels: Saturn. Formed the Arkestra in the 50's and imposed strict rules having most band members live and rehearse in the same space, and banning sins of the flesh (drugs, alcohol, fornication) and requiring availability to practice at any hour (see Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (esp. Trout Mask Replica), a direct descendant though without the fleshly prohibitions). Known as a "strange" musician playing dissonant chords, abandoning keys, migrating into long, long solos, embracing synthesizers, costumes, dancers, tribal jaunts through the audience, and a mytho-poetic symbology of transcendence by vibration and song. Mr. Ra released at least 200 lp's in his lifetime (though the exact count is unknown) most on his Saturn label, many of which are rare and hard to find. He was considered part of the Free Jazz movement (see the New Thing) though philosophically, he did not agree with this designation (he considered his compositions intentionally and finely crafted).

Mr. Re claimed one of the highlights of his career were the concerts performed at the Pyramids in Egypt, in 1971 evoking the black spaceman direct at the source.

Sun Ra continued to perform till having a stroke in 1992. He died in 1993 and returned to the planet of his birth. Groove with Mr. Mystery, and have your psyche hoochie koo and float above the room.

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