Check Out Dozens of Sun Ra's Charts

Check Out Dozens of Sun Ra's Charts

Check Out Dozens of Sun Ra's Charts
Sun Ra stands out in the history of jazz for many reasons. Most notably-- and famously-- is his unparalleled commitment to the cosmic aspect of cosmic jazz. A pioneer of afrofuturism, he believed, at least on the surface, that he was actually from space (Saturn, specifically). A lot of his music is accordingly spacey-- but what's often overlooked is his foundations in more straightforward jazz. Though he emerged as a major figure and a progenitor of free jazz in the 1960s, his career as a composer dates back to the '30s. He wasn't always "Sun Ra," and his music wasn't always futuristic big band chaos. This is abundantly clear in the series of charts recently posted by David Menestres, spanning over forty years of Sun Ra's career. They showcase the work of a man (or alien) deft at composition, clearly knowledgeable of straight-ahead and traditional jazz music. Many of the charts seem to be lead sheets and sketches, but they're striking for their simplicity regardless. As over-the-top as Sun Ra's persona was, he was a true jazz composer and bandleader-- and that's evident even in his weirdest music, and in these charts. (via ISSUE Project Room)
Download the charts here.


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