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Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra [Format Kindle]

John F. Szwed
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Born Herman Poole Blount in Alabama in 1914, he reinvented himself in the 1950s as Sun Ra, the great surrealist of jazz whose free-form performances with his Arkestra amply justified the description "'jspace music." His mystical beliefs were equally avant-garde; Yale professor John Szwed sympathetically explains some fairly far-out notions as "driven by a hunger for totality that only music could express." Szwed recovers the biographical facts Sun Ra was often at pains to obscure, without losing sight of the overriding role imagination played in this visionary life.

The New York Times Book Review, Brent Staples

... Szwed has produced a rare jazz biography--one that takes full account of the history that shaped the music and its central personalities. An anthropologist, historian and musicologist who teaches at Yale, Szwed brings an impressive array of skills to this job. He needs them all to track down a subject whose every word seems intended to protect him from scrutiny.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2469 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 476 pages
  • Editeur : Pantheon; Édition : 1st (25 juillet 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B008GO3YRI
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°130.645 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 TAPER LA DISCUSS... 26 août 2012
" Claiming that he was of the "Angel Race" and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona using "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism"...

Raté pour cette fois... comme il y a une vie après la mort, on va se marrer...!
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.8 étoiles sur 5  20 commentaires
43 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Must Reading for Sun Ra Fans 17 février 2001
Par Patrick O. Moore - Publié sur
First let me say that I am a bigtime Sun Ra fan. If someone did not like Sun Ra's music, this book would probably not be as much fun, but it still might be interesting - say, a three-star rating instead of a five.
Ra has made much of his swing era big band background, having arranged for and performed with Fletcher Henderson ca. 1947, during that band leader's years of decline. This book documents something much less obvious: Ra's indebtedness to doo wop, R&B and even mood music. Who would have guessed the resemblance to Les Baxter? I now hear both Ra and Baxter with new ears. Starting in the first chapter, the book provides important background available nowhere else, such as detailed description of the 1930s Birmingham social clubs, a little known musical scene.
About two thirds of the way through, the narration freezes and the book gets bogged down in describing Ra as a philosopher and poet. This is rather thin soup. Szwed tosses out twenty-dollar terms like "gnosticism" without giving any clear evidence that he, or Ra for that matter, really understands them. Fact is that Ra's genius was largely intuitive, and his uses of Egyptian history and futuristic technophilia were largely metaphorical posturing. Ra's philosophy and poetry are valuable only because he was a musical genius. Students of the music should remember that the programmatic content was used ritually in performance but in no way validates his music or makes it better.
The chapters covering the 1930s through 1960s are fairly detailed. In contrast, the narration about Ra's last 15 years (1977-92) is curtailed (perhaps by a deadline), and we get barely one page per year of activity. A complement to Szwed's book is Robert Campbell's discography, The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra (Cadence Books), which gives very few pages to the early years but becomes thick by listing recordings made in the 1980s, when technology had made live recordings commonplace.
...I am about to read John Szwed's book for the fifth time. After reading it the second time, I was so sorry to finish I had to start over again. That's why I wish there were more about his late recording and touring career.
If you don't know Sun Ra's music, start with the Evidence CDs and get with it. If you already know and like Ra's music, then you will enjoy this book.
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Definitive Biography of "Mr. Mystery" 16 décembre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
John Szwed's "Space is the Place" is a monumental achievement. Sun Ra is arguably the most difficult figure on whom a person could possibly write a biography, since throughout his life he denied that he was even from Earth. This makes Szwed's careful analysis of his formative years in Alabama, replete with factual details, all the more compelling and welcome. What soon becomes apparent is that Sun Ra was often a misunderstood musician and composer who was one of the few artists in jazz history that encompassed every generic possibility of jazz in his art. In Ra's music, you heard everything from swing, be-bop, hard-bop, free-jazz, and even traces and significations of more popular musical forms (i.e., doo-wop, blues, and even disco in the late-70s). And he not only drew from these genres, but in many ways helped to shape them, by forming new and revising old musical trends. One can only hope that the world will eventually be graced with biographies of Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor that are as carefully researched as Szwed's study of Sun Ra.
Szwed's book also delves deeply into the space-influenced philosophy of Sun Ra and its emphasis on "discipline" and "precision." While Szwed features direct quotes when possible, he also paraphrases the philosophy of Sun Ra frequently. His analysis could have gone much farther into Ra's critique of Christianity and his use of language. At one point, he mentions that both Ra and Nietzsche "unflinchingly assaulted received Christianity" (p.383), but he does not extend his analysis further. (It would have been interesting to compare how both artists used the theme of "overcoming" in their art, or perhaps a discussion of the similarities in their critiques of democracy.) Szwed also could have drawn a stronger connection between Ra and the European Romantics that he occasionally mentions, including William Blake. Both figures were visionaries who tried to break their "mind forged manacles" and reach a higher state of innocence by using aesthetics as a catalyst to reach transcendental experiences.
It also would have been useful to analyze more thoroughly Sun Ra's use of binary oppositions in his speeches and in his interrogation of concepts such as "Truth," "Righteousness," and "Death." Despite Sun Ra's truly amazing ability to parse the English language in his lectures, often major logical fallacies emerged in his approach to such matters (although Sun Ra, at some point, probably deconstructed the term "Logic" as well). It would have been nice for Szwed to at least acknowledge the limitations of Sun Ra's thought along with discussing its strengths. However, Szwed's book is the best study of one of the most important thinkers and artists of the "omniverse age" and should be required reading for anyone interested in jazz music.
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fine Explanation of a Complex Phenomenon 10 juin 2002
Par Scott McFarland - Publié sur
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.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A stunning masterpiece 9 mai 2004
Par David Jones - Publié sur
This is, simply put, the greatest jazz biography I have ever read. Sun Ra is a complex and fascinating character, and Szwed's narrative more than lives up to the challenge. The most impressive thing about this book is that Szwed places Ra's, shall we say, bizarre beliefs in a context that makes him seem brilliant, lonely, compassionate, and vulnerable--in a word, human. Interwoven with the facts of Ra's life, his childhood, his musical development, his status as 60s cult icon, Szwed goes into long, fascinating digressions on the roots of Ra's beliefs--from ancient Egyptian mythology to the Bible. After reading this book, it was as if a whole world had been opened to me, and I now enjoy and appreciate Ra's art so much more. I wish I could convey how much this book moved is more than the best jazz biography I have ever read, it is one of the best biographies I have ever read, period. If you are at all interested in Sun Ra, experimental jazz, or modern mythmaking, then DO NOT hesitate to pick this book up.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 not just sun ra 20 novembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
This is an amazing book, far beyond the average biography. While the personal aspects of Sun Ra's life are detailed, I appreciated the attention to the greater social contexts that influenced Sun Ra tremendously. Szwed highlights Sun Ra's struggle with the denial of legitimacy African-American culture suffers within mainstream U.S. culture, even as the innovations of African-Americans are co-opted by the culture industry. It definitely made me more sensitive to developments in contemporary underground culture, such as Hip-Hop. Buy it at your local independent bookstore.
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