The Merseyside Improvisors Orchestra celebrate the music of one of the most unique American composers of the 20thC, Sun Ra, the legendary big band leader, piano and synthesiser player, poet and philosopher.
His music encompasses everything from swing, to bebop, free improvisation and experimental music – amazingly he even collaborated with John Cage.
Though Sun Ra claimed to be from Saturn and, in his own mind he was the first black man in outer space, down on earth his music provoked a huge array of emotions in his lifetime – from anger, indifference, confusion and oblivion, to astonishment, awe and cult like devotion.
Sun Ra held a big band together, often through lean times, non stop for four decades from the mid-50s. His repertoire came to include the entire spectrum of jazz history, and when Sun Ra passed on to Other Worlds, his Arkestra continued here on planet earth under the direction of Marshall Allen (a founder member of the Arkestra, now in his 90s and stilll blowing up a storm on alto sax).
Even so the jazz community here seems to have mixed feelings about him, he has been variously revered, reviled or just ignored… jazz purists may have been put off by his embracing of electronic instruments, dancers and theatrical elements in his shows. But although his mainstream success has been limited, he is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of free jazz, modal improvisation, world music fusions and electro-accoustic improvisation. And unsurprisingly, he has long been revered by rock music’s more inquisitive adventurers, with Sonic Youth and members of Radiohead being huge fans, as well as Pete Townsend, who once bought 250 albums on a visit to a Chicago record store. Sun Ra is in fact one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20thC having recorded over 100 full length albums.
The Merseyside Improvisors Orchestra, led by saxophonist Ged Barry, plays an evening of Sun Ra compositions, arranged and directed by trumpeter Loz Speyer – bringing these amazing, out of this world sounds all the way to Liverpool.
Don’t miss it!
24 Hope St