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I found this clip on YouTube and I must say It's hard for me to understand this music or how this can somehow be enjoyable.
I'm not trying to criticize the music, I'm trying to understand it.

 

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Can't get the link to work. There is a notice about "no media files hosted on these forums" etc and something to click that says "I agree." After clicking that, still no clip. This has happened several times here for me and it's very frustrating.

Anyway, without having seen the clip, my guess is Sun Ra's music is very hard to "get" on a YouTube clip, or even with a recording. I saw him live a few times and it was quite an experience. Incredible music, but I think it was music you needed to see live. Unfortunately, Sun Ra is no longer with us.
 

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Is this the piece you were referring to?

If so, I'm not sure what's to get. I'm not a big fan of the vocals here and there isn't enough of the arkestra playing their instruments, but it seems pretty straightforward to me. However, I also recognize that this is a little outside the mainstream for a lot of people.

There is a lot of the arkestra on youtube, check out some more and keep an open mind, but there's nothing that says you have to like it either.
 

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cleger said:
Is this the piece you were referring to?

If so, I'm not sure what's to get. I'm not a big fan of the vocals here and there isn't enough of the arkestra playing their instruments, but it seems pretty straightforward to me. However, I also recognize that this is a little outside the mainstream for a lot of people.

There is a lot of the arkestra on youtube, check out some more and keep an open mind, but there's nothing that says you have to like it either.
Nope, it's this clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsKDbuCsTkk

And on both the alto solo is far from straightforward.
 

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Mime said:
And on both the alto solo is far from straightforward.
I guess it depends what you mean by straightforward, it ain't by the book Berklee-style jazz but it's certainly nothing new.
 

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cleger said:
I guess it depends what you mean by straightforward, it ain't by the book Berklee-style jazz but it's certainly nothing new.
No, but Marshall Allen's one of the kings of alto skronk.
 

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I didn't intend that to sound dismissive of Marshall's playing, I'm just saying that the style is nothing new.
 

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I got to sit in with the Arkestra a couple of years ago. It was definitely fun to play. Some tunes we played were just normal charts. Some were where we were taught licks/lines by rote and played them when we were conducted to do so.

Space is the place!
 

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dirty said:
John Gilmore sounds great in that clip!
John Gilmore sounds great on any clip.;)
 

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Sun-ra is another voice in the jazz landscape and one that has something good to say. Admittedly, he can be abit of an acquired taste and I'm not a big fan of Marshall Allen, but John Gilmore rocks!
 

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Geesh, if people actually like this kind of playing, then I'm DEFINATELY NOT OF THIS PLANET :D

This should be re posted to the 'Polls & Surveys' area so we can get a bigger picture of what members here really think.

Total chaos !! Then again, judging by the interview at the beginning, that's what it's supposed to be, no ???

I'd go as far to say it's actually disturbing.
 

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It may seem like total chaos, but Ra knows exactly what he's doing.
The man wrote arrangements for Fletcher Henderson and had a trio with Coleman Hawkins. (Hawk said he wrote some of the only music that he couldn't play.)
 

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No, I think it was Sun Ra that was from another planet. Too bad he went back:(

You can't get an idea of the Arkestra experience from one tune. You have to have the perspective of an entire concert.
 

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hakukani said:
You can't get an idea of the Arkestra experience from one tune. You have to have the perspective of an entire concert.
That's a very fair comment indeed. Hope I didn't offend with my remarks as that was not my intention. It is pretty far out stuff though, and so typically of Youtube videos, I was left very underwhelmed.

As musicians, I am extremely confident that they are up there and have paid there dues. It's when they all come together that I have the problem understanding. Like the original poster, I suppose I just don't get it :?
 

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Russ said:
That's a very fair comment indeed. Hope I didn't offend with my remarks as that was not my intention. It is pretty far out stuff though, and so typically of Youtube videos, I was left very underwhelmed.

As musicians, I am extremely confident that they are up there and have paid there dues. It's when they all come together that I have the problem understanding. Like the original poster, I suppose I just don't get it :?
One of the things I tell people who 'don't get' the avante garde is that there IS structure and development in this music (if it's played correctly). It's just not the TRADITIONAL structure and development that one might be used to hearing. There's nothing that says that the sound we typically associate with say a big band trumpet player, is 'correct'. Well, some PEOPLE will say that, but it's just not true. Likewise, consonant sound in music is not 'correct', it's just what people are used to hearing (and in some cases are conditioned to hear).
So, if one listens to some music that is very dissonent, and doesn't have the type of organization and structure that they are used to, the reaction is often "I dont' get it...." -- that's okay. The question is whether that person is interested enough to go listen again and try to get it. Sort of like Jackson Pollack....it ain't seascapes from Sears.....=:)

bigtiny
 

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The very shortest story about this clip and any other you are likely to hear from Sun Ra is that he is not playing it for your enjoyment. If all they wanted to do was to please the critics, would they have persisted in this line of research for 40 years, eating Ra's cooking, living under a leaky roof? No.

And speaking of John Gilmore, the only sax player to gain the public respect of John Coltrane (who was very close to Sun Ra in his last days), the Mystery the detractors must face is why an unquestionably grand-master of the instrument should choose to stay with Sun Ra for his entire career. You hear the space-fire, you hear the chaos, and you wonder "why?" and THAT is precisely the sort of question Ra wanted you to pose.

"The known cannot save you. If it could, you would already be saved. Therefore humanity can only be saved by the Unknown. Humanity needs the Unknown" -- so do keep watching those clips, and please do keep asking yourself exactly that question :)

One ex-member recently described the Arkestra experience perfectly when he said, upon returning to the 'mainstream' money-fueled Biz side of music, that Sun Ra had taught him a most valuable lesson, that a musician must FIT the gig, by their actions, their dress, their style and manor, by even the colours they choose and the way they wear their hair; it is all part of The Music.

To fit in with any band, you must do what they do, the way they do it. He said he saved himself a lot of grief knowing that. If you want to play with The Creator's band, you reach out into the Unknown, you focus your whole being for Outer Space. If you just want to make money from people, you behave like people, follow the money-making cats, aim to please and focus on your bottom line. As the free-jazz trumpet player Bill Dixon famously said, "Man, I'd love to be rich, but if it means I have to play like them other cats, well you can KEEP your money."

A final take on this whole thread: compare Psalm 33:3 to Sun Ra's remark, "The planet is asleep and it's the fault of musicians who are untrue to themselves."
 

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hakukani said:
No, I think it was Sun Ra that was from another planet. Too bad he went back:(

You can't get an idea of the Arkestra experience from one tune. You have to have the perspective of an entire concert.
Unfortunately the planet he went back to was Alabama. . . :shock: :( :(
 

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Reedsplinter said:
Unfortunately the planet he went back to was Alabama. . . :shock: :( :(
Here's a "portrait" of Sun Ra, gone back:

COSMO-EXTENSIONS (Sun Ra)

Years afterward, everything looks the same: the factory gate,
The warehouse, the rusted-out dump truck. Wouldn’t you think
Being dead would matter? But look: there’s his father still
In his iceman’s coat, always on the verge of lighting out.
There’s his mother with her perpetual mantra of worry,
And his brother with his mean right hook, his sister with her asthma.
Went everywhere—Harlem, Saturn, Heaven—and in the end
This is what it comes to: Saturday morning and all the horror of home.
And look at him, if you can find him—hardly there, he’s a falling chord,
A fading chorus, chance reverberation, pile of ash
From a fake book somebody used as kindling.
He’s an old woman’s memory of a Saturday night dance.
Where’s the family resemblance now that he’s purely ectoplasmic,
Foxfire, chain lightning, swamp gas? They are hands and faces,
They are jobs and crimes of passion, a stack of bills to pay.
He’s what he said he was: non-dimensional, otherworldly, a cloud
Of diesel smoke from a bus exhaust: gone elsewhere, one way.
 
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