Re: your mail

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#1 Sun, 1994-07-31 12:29
Robert L. Campbell
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Joined: 2010-12-22 21:43

Re: your mail

Will, Yes, it makes the most sense for the recipient of each copied tape to pay the 50 cents. The situation with Ra's estate is (predictably) a mess. Ra claimed not to believe in death, and loved chaos, so leaving a will is something he would never have done. Ra was never married and had no children (he was most likely a gay man who became celibate after taking on his spiritual calling--that's my opinion, at least). His real family was the Arkestra. He does have a sister still alive in Alabama (a brother and a half-brother are long dead), a niece in Alabama, and a nephew in LA. He didn't have any contact with them from 1946, when he left Birmingham for good, till around 1980 when he began to revisit the Deep South. The legal battle over Ra's estate shaped up as a contest between Alton Abraham and Ra's relatives (who might not have otherwise cared much about Ra's legacy, but were stuck with big medical bills after his final illness). The Arkestra finally got incorporated in January of this year (with free legal help) but was never a player in the dispute over the estate. Abraham, meanwhile, had no serious claim over anything beyond the Chicago-label Saturns (which he financed and released) and the book of Ra's poetry he used to publish --but he claimed to own Ra's stage name and career. Given the presumptions made by our courts (and their lack of receptivity to Biblical exegesis as a mode of legal argument), it was a foregone conclusion that Abraham would lose. It was nearly as much a foregone conclusion that the Arkestra would get cut out. All of this means that the Arkestra won't get a penny from any of Ra's issued recordings. They may get upfront payment for tapes (and scores) that they own, but everything else will go to Alabama. The relatives could even try to gain control of the house in Philly, though luckily they don't seem interested in doing so. Sun Ra asked John Gilmore to take over the Arkestra when he wasn't able to play, and all of the Arkestra members regard John as the undisputed leader. rlc