“Sun Ra in Chicago”

(Interesting bit adding to yesterday’s post: According to the official Arkestra website, no legal birth certificate exists for the man who called himself “Sun Ra.” All information about his birth comes from the Library of Congress, who has hold of a passport giving his legal name as “Le Sony’r Ra.”)

In Chicago, Sun Ra’s music exploded. He began working as a house arranger at Club DeLisa, the same nightspot where his hero Fletcher Henderson kept a regular gig. Eventually leading his own band (which had as many names as God, but most frequently was known as the Sun Ra Arkestra), Ra stayed in Chicago until he left for New York in 1960, but not until leaving his mark on the next generation of avant-garde jazz musicians. Here is a taste of the Chicago Art Ensemble, taking more than a few cues from the Arkestra (and please note their use of costumes):

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