Sun Ra’s extravagant headwear was intrinsically tied with his philosophical beliefs.
Known as one of the most influential musicians and composers in the cosmic deep jazz genre, Sun Ra created much of his music based on the Afrofuturism movement, which he helped pioneer. Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic that combines science-fiction, history and fantasy to explore the African-American experience and aims to connect those from the black diaspora with their forgotten African ancestry. Sun Ra’s music often blends Egyptian mysticism with modern day technological advancements such as the Space Age. He was inspired to write such music when he had an out-of-body experience where he was visited by aliens on a planet he identified as Saturn. Whether you believe he actually had this experience or not, Sun Ra is still a great influential artist both in Jazz and Cultural/Artistic movements. If you are interested in learning more about Sun Ra, we recommend you listen to his 1971 Berkeley Lecture on this Open Culture article. You can also find Sun Ra’s music in this week’s JAZZ LOCKDOWN mix.