From The Vault
May 6, 2020: Sun Ra Ominiverse 100 Year Anniversary 1914-2014
The Pacifica Radio Archives invited 2 KPFK music programmers and Sun Ra admirers,
Mark Maxwell and Carlos Nino to help guide us through some of the more abstract ideas of Sun Ra.
Sun Ra’s arrival on Earth was May 22, 1914 and his departure was May 30th 1993. Carlos Nino explains why Sun Ra refers to his birthday this way..
Sun Ra was a Conscientious Objector during World War II which presented him with many distasteful experiences including jail time and eventual non combat duty.
Carlos Nino explains the paradox of Sun Ra’s later conservative politics.
Sun Ra played early on with several traditional jazz legends including Fletcher Henderson and Coleman Hawkins. Mark Maxwell Maxwell explain the impact Jazz legends had on Sun Ra… and the impact Sun Ra had on others such as John Coltrane.
Sun Ra was clearly influenced by George James’ 1954 book Stolen Legacy which traces Greek Philosophy to it’s roots in Egypt, when Greeks were schooled by the great Egyptian educators. James argues that African accomplishments were suppressed and denied by European cultures, while Greek Philosophers were credited with modern Higher thought and learning.
Sun Ra officially changed his name to Le Sony’r Ra in 1952, Ra taken for the Egyptian Sun God .
Mark Maxwell describes Sun Ra’s avid appetite for reading, research, philosophy and ancient civilizations, particularly when he lived in Chicago in the 1950’s.
The Pacifica Radio Archives has 2 landmark interviews with Sun Ra… 1968 one of the oldest known recorded interviews conducted by Dennis Irving and our 1991 interview (KZ1759a‑b) with KPFK producer Jay Green called Getting Better than Good, Notes from the Omniverse.