SUNO RA Tribute/Kidd Jordan/T-Shirts
SUNO RA Tribute/Kidd Jordan/T-Shirts
I have now had ample time to digest my experience at the Sun Ra tribute at Southern University, New Orleans. I have been wanted to write, but was very busy preparing a photo display for the D.C. World Jazz Festival. I put two dozen photos, representing a retrospective of the 15 years of the festival, in the glass show cases outside the Warner Theatre. As many know, the Arkestra performed there during the festival last year - but I must confess that I did not display a photo of the Arkestra (for a variety of reasons). Saturn friends Kidd Jordan and Kash Killion both performed as part of a group organized by drummer Paul Murphy, and also including Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax), Karen Borca (cello), William Parker (bass), and Yuko Fujiyama (piano). They played a freely improvised set that was both powerful and sensitive.
So, meanwhile a month ago in New Orleans....the establishment of a SUNO Sun Ra Institute or Archive is still being planned and discussed. The annual continuation of a tribute event at SUNO appears to be a stronger probability. This year's event featured a concert of music beautifully organized by Kidd Jordan, a brief John Szwed symposium with videos, and an exhibit of my photos of Sun Ra and the Arkestra in the lobby.
Kidd opened the concert with his Heritage School orchestra. The kids were very cute playing simple but swinging blues licks. Then Kidd was joined by daughter Rachel and two other violinists to perform an Oliver Lake composition for saxophone and strings. The feeling really evoked Ornette Coleman for me. Then they were joined by the members of Kidd's Improvistational Arts Quintet. The personnel at the concert has was recently provided to the list by Terrance Lewis, who was a big help (to me, for sure) getting things set up for the event - so I won't repeat all the names. This larger group played an engaging new composition by Kidd Jordan dedicated to Sun Ra, "Mister, Mister, Mister Sun Mister Ra"(or something like that).
A jam followed, continuing with the Mr. Ra theme. Arkestra alumni Michael Ray and Jothan Callins participated and along with Marlon Jordan, Clyde Kerr, and a fine young student, there was some great trumpet playing. They jammed on 2 Ra pieces: Planet Earth and They'll Come Back(with Michael Ray singing). Then Michael asked the group, "Do you want to make ione up?" and proceeded to create a new funky riff melody singing repeatedly, "If we came from somewhere here, why can't we go to somewhere there?"
As you probably know, the event was hurriedly organized and poorly promoted. Not very many people showed up. I brought a bunch of the new Sun Ra T-shirts and brought half of them back home. Incidently, Kidd performed in his. I have not heard much from the list about the T-shirt and I guess that not many of you have one. Saturnites, this is the T-shirt of your dreams. I would love to hear some impressions of the shirt. So, for the benefit of new subscribers - and a reminder to others - the shirt is available from Gear,Inc. at (800) 366-8337. I think their price is $15 plus about $2.50 S&H, and if you say that you are from Saturn (or if that embarrasses you, say you subscribe to the Saturn e-mail list) they will discount the shirt 10%. I have described the shirt in detail before, but they are 100% cotton black (only) with a montage of white photograhic images (my photos) of Ra and the Arkestra.
You can call and ask for a catalog to see what it looks like before you order. They have a nice line of shirts of the major jazz figures.
Check it out.