Don Letts made a documentary about the great Sun Ra? Yup, apparently so. I know what we’ll be watching tonight! How did this one slip past me???
Born in perhaps the most segregated place on Earth – early 20th-century Alabama – Herman Poole Blount rejected his name, his origins and the conventions of the time (or any other, for that matter), re-creating himself as Sun Ra, emissary from Saturn (“planet of discipline”) and musical genius. Blending Egyptology and Space Age imagery, he projected a philosophy of radical empowerment for the entire cosmos; keeping a big band on the road for decades through independence and communal living, he became a patriarch of jazz and an avatar of freewheeling space music. Turning from the punk and reggae with which he’s most closely associated to one of the key figures in 20th-century sound, famed DJ/filmmaker Letts presents the Sun Ra story in all its glory, combining powerful footage of Ra and his legendary Arkestra, interviews with band members shot at their famous group house in Philadelphia and testimonies from sax great Archie Shepp, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and other admirers.
Via Pathway To Unknown Worlds. Note that there is a download link.
Thanks William Meehan!