Friday, November 20, 2009


About five years before this clip was shot, Sun Ra and his Arkestra took up residence in a store- front theater on West 23rd Street in New York, and performed most Saturday nights from about 9 to 3. Since it was about a five minute walk from my apartment, I used to go in all the time. Changed my life.

A couple of things: The girl dancing in the aisle at about 3:00 understands everything. The guy playing the baritone sax at about 5:00 is the father of the current governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick.

This is what Walt Whitman meant when he said:

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.


Generic said...

Good answer.

Over my head, I'm afraid. Not sure exactly where the line is between music (sound that is some extent organized) and noise, or exactly where this stuff falls. Perhaps there are organizing principles at work I am not "sophisticated" enough to hear.

(That girl, I would say, understands everything, not just this music.)

Tulkinghorn said...

Whether it's noise or music, it's a magnificent sound.

Think of it as what Motorhead would do if they were smart enough.

These guys, by the way, could go into a note-perfect Ellington chart at the lift of an eyebrow from Ra.

At the end of the concert, they would play "When the Saints Go Marching In" while cakewalking (!) through the audience and out onto West 23rd.