Bernard Stollman, founder of the influential, otherworldly ESP-Disk label, has passed away this week at 85. New York Times obituary. The independent label was home to blazing, provocative recordings from avant-jazz greats like Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra, as well as underground rock outsiders like the Godz, the Holy Modal Rounders, and the Fugs. The label's discography is deep, strange, and still largely unexplored by everyone but hardcore music geeks (who tend to be highly passionate about it). From Stereogum: Remembering Bernard Stollman: 10 Essential ESP-Disk Albums.
Black to the future: science fiction writer Tananarive Due talks about afrofuturism and why it's important. [more inside]
HELLO TO ALL YOU SATURNIANS, THIS CHANNEL IS DEDICATED TO JAZZ, TO SUN RA AND HIS JAZZ SPACE MUSIC. SPREAD THE WORD, PLEASE, BECAUSE THE SATURNIAN CULTURE ALWAYS HAS TO REMAINS ALIVE INSIDE US, SHARE MY VIDEOS, VOTE AND COMMENT. I HOPE YOU'LL ENJOY IT ALL.It's Ascension Day in the Netherlands and what better way to celebrate a four day weekend than by watching a great slab of Afrofuturist jazz extravaganza, courtesy of Youtube channel Sun Ra Soul: the complete 1974 Sun Ra movie Space is the Place?
Texas Monthly profiles Tom Wilson, a Harvard-educated Republican from Waco who helped launch the careers of Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Lou Reed, and a few other musicians you might have heard of. Previously.
"Edward Bland’s 1959 documentary The Cry of Jazz is one of the most remarkable films I’ve ever seen. An early statement of the black nationalism that would become famous in the late 60s, Bland argues in this 30 minute film that only African-Americans have the soul and history to play jazz and that whites need to understand their inferiority in the genre is precisely because of their racist history. It’s an amazing film." -- Apart from articulating a debate that's perhaps as old as jazz itself, The Cry of Jazz also is the earliest recorded appearance of Sun Ra and his Arkestra.
WMFU DJ Irwin Chusid has put together a tribute website to music producer Tom Wilson. Wilson was born in 1931 and died young at 47 in 1978. Among the musicians he worked with: Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Pete Seeger, The Mothers of Invention, The Velvet Underground, Nico, Gil-Scott Heron, and Professor Longhair. Some of his notable and more far-out productions, include the Bob Dylan "Like a Rolling Stone" session which was the subject of the much repeated Al Kooper organ riff anecdote. He had been president of Harvard's Young Republican club, graduated Harvard cum laude, and was African-American. He was also friends with Wally "Famous" Amos, and it was through Wilson, that Amos, at the time an agent at William Morris, came to represent Simon & Garfunkel.
In 1974, Sun Ra and his Arkestra released a film. In which he plays cards with a pimp and travels through space and time. There is social commentary. And music. He also made an album with the same name. [more inside]
Sounds from Tomorrow's World: Sun Ra and the Chicago Years, 1946-1961 is an exhibition drawn from the collections of the University of Chicago's Chicago Jazz Archive.
Brother from Another Planet (Pts. 2, 3, and 4) is a documentary about Sun Ra and his Arkestra(s) on YT. It features interviews with Archie Shepp, Amiri Baraka, John Sinclair, and several members of the Arkestra as well as several live clips and scenes from the 1974 movie Space is the Place. (previously) [more inside]
In 1966 the Tifton Record Company's efforts to cash in on the popularity of the Batman TV show resulted in the release of an LP called Batman and Robin. Though the jacket credited “The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale”, the musicians were in fact members of Sun Ra’s Solar Arkestra and The Blues Project. The wonderful folks at WFMU have made this unlikely collaboration's wonderfully infectious music available for your downloading pleasure. Very fun, lively stuff, with a warm and rollicking sound. I've fallen in love with it.
Select insiders will apppreciate Volume VII of Esoterica, this one being a Special Political Issue which leads with Religion and Secrecy in the Bush Administration: The Gentleman, the Prince, and the Simulacrum. Previous issues have featured articles like Sun Ra: From Ephrata (F-Ra-Ta) to Arkestra, Magic and Cyberspace and The Western Quest for 'Secret Tibet'--to name but a very few. And check out the Image Library, too. Via Other Voices