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Sun Ra
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    (May 22, 1914-May 30, 1993)
    Birth name Herman Poole Blount
    Band leader/pianist for his band, the Arkestra
    Recorded albums including 'Space Is the Place,' 'Atlantis,' 'Mayan Temples,' 'Blue Delight,' 'Reflections in Blue,' 'Sleeping Beauty,' 'Sunrise in Different Dimensions,' 'Lanquidity,' 'Unity,' 'The Solar Myth Approach, Vol. 1,' 'The Solar Myth Approach, Vol. 2,' 'Nothing Is,' 'The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun, Vol. 1,' 'The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun, Vol. 2,' 'The Nubians of Plutonia,' 'Visits Planet Earth,' and 'Sound of Joy'
    Very little is known about his early life.
    There is some disagreement as to his date of birth as he himself stated that he 'arrived on earth' at any number of ancient dates.
    As a youth, he abandoned his birth name and adopted the name Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian god of the Sun).
    He then developed a complicated persona of 'cosmic' philosophies and lyrical poetry.
    He claimed that he was of the 'Angel Race' from Saturn.
    During the 1950s, he and his band began wearing Egyptian-styled or science fiction-theme costumes and headdresses for which they would become known for.
    Near the end of his life, he started featuring plate twirlers and fire eaters in his shows.
    He demonstrated an early talent for piano at a very young age, studying both performance and arrangements.
    Some regarded him as a kook for his persona, but most recognized his immense musical talents.
    He eschewed racism and drugs.
    His career span 6 decades, recording over 100 albums.
    He's claimed as one of the first jazz leaders to use two basses, to employ the electric bass, to play electronic keyboards, to use extensive percussion and poly rhythms, to explore modal music and to pioneer solo and group freeform improvisations.
    His music influenced many including MC5, Herbie Hancock, Trey Anastasio, Pink Floyd, George Clinton, Yo La Tengo, The Residents and many others.
    He was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1987.

Credit: Jughead

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