Sun Ra: Space is the Place (MPF2146.01)

Michael Wimberly

SUN RA…SPACE IS THE PLACE takes a look at the life of Herman Poole Blount, founder and creator of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Considered a prolific composer of jazz and a pioneer of electronic music, Herman Blount aka Le Sony’r Ra or Sun Ra, was quite controversial for his electronic music and unorthodox lifestyle. He claimed he was of the “Angel Race” and not from Earth, but from Saturn, after experiencing an alien abduction. Sun Ra’s music touched on the entire history of jazz, from ragtime to swing, bebop to free jazz, electronic music and space music. This course examines Sun Ra’s musical timeline with a greater focus on song lyrics, poetry, and his early beginnings and influences. Students will view landmark and related Sun Ra films for its poetic content, as well as present midterm and final projects inspired from the collection. Readings from the book; “Space Is The Place, The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra”, written by John F. Szwed, and “SUN RA Interviews and Essays”, Ed. by John Sinclair, are required.