Friday, November 23, 2007

John F. Szwed - Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra

"The book is well-written and does what it sets out to do - explain who Sun Ra was and what he was doing. This is no mean feat. Sun Ra was a man of many interests and beliefs, of whom many misconceptions exist. Even most of his fans (I've been listening to Ra's music for about 10 years now) will probably learn much and gain tremendous perspective on him from this book (I certainly did).
The book's story is one of a man with artistic genius within him, who probably could have been a millionaire and musical "star" - who chose to do other things instead. Here is the unusual story of what he did and why he did it.

There is room for another book in the world on Ra's discography, that traces the patterns, forms, and themes of his vast catalogue of recorded music. There is room in the world for a book that tells the stories of the members of Ra's Arkestra. But this is not those books, this is the first logical step in studies : an explanation of Sun Ra himself. It's a difficult job very well done." ~ Scott McFarland