Archive for Sun Ra

The Sun Ra Arkestra in Poschiavo 2012

Posted in clips, documents, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by crownpropeller

I spent Wednesday and Thursday of last week with my friend Hubi and Hubi’s friend Dario in Poschiavo in the Graubünden part of Switzerland where the Sun Ra Arkestra under the leadership of  Marshall Allen supplied the on stage music for two theatrical plays at the Uncool Festival. I shot some video there – but in fact a lot of people did. So there is no need for me editing all this stuff now. Instead I have embedded some nice clips that I found on the youtube channel of local newspaper Giornale il Bernina. Here are some excerpts from the Wednesday evening performance of the play Oedipus: 

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The first Sun Ra discography

Posted in Discography, Sun Ra with tags , , , on March 30, 2012 by crownpropeller

The up to now last and most complete (it can NEVER be totally complete as the universe has endless possibilities) attempt to write a discography of the recorded works of cosmo-music master Sun Ra, is still “The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra” by Robert L. Campbell. Be sure to get the 2nd edition though, cowritten by Chris Trent. It’s still available through Cadence or at Amazon.

Of course Robert and Chris did not start from scratch. Over the years there have been many Sun Ra discographies written by such knowledgeable people as Julian Vein, Bert Vuijsje, Erik Raben, Vlad Simosko, Tilman Stahl, Jean Buzelin & Alain-René Hardy, Mark Webber, Hartmut Geerken.

But the first person to be as fascinated by Sun Ra’s mixture of the very old and the very tomorrow as to publish a listing of his work seems to have been Otto Flückiger whose Sun Ra discography appeared in the March 1961 issue of “jazz-statistics”.

I once asked Otto how he got to know Ra’s music, he surely must have been the first person who had heard this music in switzerland. Unfortunately I did not write down what he told me, but I seem to remember that in the late fifties a friend of his brought a Sun Ra LP back from a trip to the USA as a present for Otto: “Jazz In Transition” on the Transition label. And the music fascinated him right away. I especially remember Otto mentioning “their enthusiasm” as a reason. Otto then somehow managed to find out the address of Saturn Records. And I guess he send them some money in exchange for records he might get for the amount . That is how he got his “Jazz In Silhouette” LP -it was a true first pressing, he traded it later – as well as some 45rpms and a Saturn Records catalogue.

“jazz-statistics” was a homemade discographical magazine published by Otto himself. Jazz fans interested in discographical data could subscribe to it and  received from 12 to 24 pages of discographical data four times a year.  Kurt Mohr, the father of r’n’b discography, french collector Marvel Chauvard and others also published their listings there. There were comparable magazines all over europe, and they were of great help to the compilers of complete multi-volume jazz discographies like Jorgen Jepsen, Walter Bruyninckx and Tom Lord.

I do not exactly know for how long “jazz-statistics” lasted, I will look that up some time (I do also not know, when this project started, if you do the maths you get around 1956, but this may not be true).

I decided to scan the first few pages of “jazz-statistics” from March 1961 so you can see what the first ever Sun Ra discography looked like. The complete issue has sixteen pages all in all. As you see Otto made a handwritten addition on one of the pages. According to Robert Campbell, “jazz-statistics” no 22 (june) had Sun Ra additions by Michael Vogler. Otto probably wrote this addition into issue no 21. I have to look If I find issue no 22 in the archive

While regarding it, (click to enlarge), you should keep in mind, that this is more than fifty years old.  If you want to get the actual state of science regarding the years in question, go to Robert Campbell’s page “From Sonny Blount to Sun Ra: The Chicago Years”.  But still this discography solved an old riddle: Why Otto’s copy of the booklet that came with the Transition LP is cut up and missing most of the photographs. They ended up in “jazz-statistics”!

Sun Ra in Spain 1985

Posted in clips, Sun Ra with tags , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by crownpropeller

As you may have realized, this blog is mostly dealing with jazz from all periods. And of course nothing is a better bridge from the ancient times to the future than the music of Sun Ra, the cosmic messenger. When I started to listen to jazz in the mid 1980s, I was mostly fascinated by the free music of the 1960s. And it was Sun Ra that showed me how to proceed back in time in my listening pleasures. I witnessed Sun Ra leading the Arkestra five or six times from 1987 to 1990. And it was my love for Sun Ra’s music that was responsible for me and the swiss jazz researcher and collector Otto Flückiger becoming friends. I got to know Otto when I visited the Sun Ra exhibition at the Jazz Museum in Arlesheim that he had curated in the early 1990s (Otto had also written the first Sun Ra discography back in 1962!).

While going through my old VHS cassettes, I found a TV broadcast from the end of July 1985 when the Arkestra was playing in Spain at the Jazzaldia Festival in Donostia-San Sebastián (Basque Country), which I am presenting here in two parts. In part 1 Sun Ra and his Arkestra play Discipline 27-II, I’ll Wait For You, an unidentified Blues, Yeah Man!, Prelude To A Kiss, Mack The Knife

You will see and hear Sun Ra (p, syn, voc); Ronnie Brown (tp); Tyrone Hill (tb); Marshall Allen (as, fl, ob, perc); John Gilmore (ts, cl, timb, voc); Ronald Wilson (picc, ts); Danny Ray Thompson (bars, perc); Eloe Omoe (as, bcl, cacl, perc); James Jacson (bsn, fl, Ancient Egyptian Infinity Drum); Bruce Edwards (eg); Rollo Radford (double eb); Tommy “Bugs” Hunter (dr); Avreeayl Amen Ra (dr); unidentified (perc); June Tyson (voc) and an unidentified dancer.

Part 2 consists of Love In Outer Space and The Shadow World.

Blog follower Agustín Pérez was so nice as to send me the poster for the Jazzaldia 1985 festival as well as a review of  Sun Ra’s appearance. Thank you very much, Agustín!

And here is the review (pdf): ABC-1985.07.20

Enjoy!

High Speed Harris

Posted in 78 rpm, documents, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by crownpropeller

Today I went through a batch of old “Jet” magazines from the collection of Otto Flückiger. Here’s a nice photo of singer Wynonie Harris from the september 4, 1958 issue, when his days of glory were long over.

To go with it, I have some music for you from Wynonie’s younger days:

This is Wynonie Harris on a rare Bullet 78 pm from my collection playing “Dig this Boogie”, recorded 1946 in Nashville. Featured on the piano is none other than Herman “Sonny” Blount, later known as extraterrestrial big band leader Sun Ra! The drummer is most probably Wynonie himself. Enjoy!

To find out more about this session, go to:

http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~campber/sunra.html