A little over a year after Sun Ra’s centenary celebration, the far-out work of the jazz musician, poet, and Afro-futurist who taught us that “space is the place” is still alive and well. Case in point, these two upcoming chances to take a trip to Saturn.
Sun Ra Arkestra at Vision Festival
July 8 at 11pm, Judson Memorial Church at 55 Washington Square; $10
In the wake of Ornette Coleman’s passing, the best thing you can do is celebrate and appreciate the jazz visionaries who are still with us. And that’s exactly what East Village double-bass virtuoso William Parker, who has collaborated with greats like Cecil Taylor, intended to do when he and his wife founded Vision Festival some 20 years ago. This year’s tour de force of free jazz and avant-garde dance and performance art kicked off Sunday with films at Anthology Film Archives and continues through July 12 with a remembrance of Amiri Baraka and performances by Milford Graves HeArt Quartet (featuring Parker and legendary saxman Charles Gayle), Roscoe Mitchell of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and the Hamiet Bluiett Telepathic Orchestra. For those who missed the Sun Ra Arkestra at Rough Trade last month (videos above), the highlight of Vision Fest (full schedule here) will be their return tonight.
Mike Huckaby Sun Ra Reel to Reel Sessions
July 17, 10pm at a secret warehouse location in Brooklyn, $20 in advance or $30 at door
Detroit producer Mike Huckaby will present edits of Sun Ra tracks along the lines of his “UFO” rework, above. These are sort of like remixes, but rather than adding beats or any other bells and whistles, Huckaby makes the original material more danceable using just a mixer and reel to reel. After the set, DJs like Donny Burlin of the Space is the Place parties will do “an extended, into-the-morning-light, after-hours session, translating the same Sun Ra vibrations through house, techno, & electronic music.” You may or may not travel to other planets but you’ll definitely see the sun rise.