The wisdom of Ra! This week, we are getting ready for the opening concert and landing of the William Grant Still Arts Center’s “Arkestry of the Cosmos” exhibition of archival Sun Ra material and original artwork by Ramsess, video art pioneer Ulysses Jenkins, Aise Bourne, Samuel Pace, and Norm Maxwell.
The opening reception and tribute concert for the exhibit is this Saturday 2/9 from 3-6pm! Former member of The Arkestra Dale Williams (guitar) will be playing along with the noted musicians Dwight Trible (vocals), Edwin Livingston (bass), Bobby West (piano), Marcus Miller (drums), and Derf Reklaw (percussion). Reklaw was a musician with Kelan Phil Cochran’s Artistic Ensemble, a spiritual jazz ensemble with ties to Sun Ra’s Chicago years, when Mr. Cochran “learned his keys from Sun Ra” and played with the Arkestra.
Our 2013 African-American Composers Series Exhibition will be focused on the work, musical output, and legacy of Sun Ra and The “Ark”, on their quest to expand minds, music, and souls through musical experimentation for over a half-century.
This exhibition will include over 150 rare photographs, videos, articles, important highlights from The Arkestra’s vinyl discography (33 1/3s, 45s, and 78s), and archival concert posters.
Sun Ra was born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914. Dedicated to awareness and a cosmic philosophy, Ra recognized his true self as a creative being by the name of Le Sony’r Ra, born of Saturn. Ra was a pioneering afro-futurist and experimental composer. His first Los Angeles performance was at Dorsey High School in 1969, just a few blocks from where The William Grant Still Arts Center is today.
The show and concert are unique to The William Grant Still Arts Center – a “don’t miss” for the Spring. See you Saturday!
The photo featured above is excerpted from the film “Space Is The Place” (1972) with Sun Ra and Ray Johnson.