Sun Ra may be best known for orchestrating some of the headiest performances in jazz history. But a new exhibit will examine the pioneering Afrofuturist’s literary legacy alongside his storied musical career.
On March 26th, Sun Ra, The Substitute Words: Poetry, 1957-72, will open at Chicago’s Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery, showcasing pieces of poetry from Sun Ra’s personal collection. According to the gallery’s description, the installation will treat “Sun Ra’s poetry on its own terms and in the context of the artist’s innovative DIY methods.”
As a companion to the exhibit, Corbett vs Dempsey is publishing four books of the musician’s poems. The works collected in Jazz by Sun Ra and Jazz in Silhouette were originally printed in the liner notes of early albums released in 1957 and 1959, respectively. The Immeasurable Equation and Extensions Out: The Immeasurable Equation Vol. II are reissued books of Ra’s writing, originally sold while on tour in 1972. A 7″ vinyl pressing of “I Struck a Match on the Moon/Dreamsville” has also been released, reviving two tracks from the sessions for The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra, a 1961 album that is amongst the first in Ra’s catalog to signal the far-out jazz explorations to come.
You can catch a glimpse at the covers of the books of Sun Ra’s poetry below. All four books and the 7″ vinyl release are currently available to purchase via Corbett vs Dempsey’s site. If you happen to be in the vicinity and want to drop in to see the exhibit in person, you can also schedule a viewing of Sun Ra, The Substitute Words: Poetry, 1957-72, which is running at the gallery until April 24th.
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