Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sun Ra

Seeing Sun Ra and his Arkestra live was an event like no other. I saw him for the first time in 1981 at a place called Myron’s Grand Ballroom in downtown Los Angeles. It was the first time he had played L.A. in about 14 years. Sun Ra’s line up at that show was very unusual; he had 6 reeds, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, himself on keyboards and 3 trap drummers! The band played for 3 and a quarter hours without an intermission. Sun Ra came to the LA area fairly regularly after that and I caught him pretty much every time.
You’ll notice that Sun Ra was never seen in any photograph without some kind of intergalactic hat. In the Sun Ra biography "Space Is The Place," the author said that Sun Ra was bald. I was able to go backstage at the Club Lingerie to get him to autograph one of the photographs I had taken of him at a previous engagement there (see above). He was relaxing before the performance and didn’t have a hat on. I can testify that Sun Ra had a full head of hair – and it was dyed the same bright orange as his beard!

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