A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism by Paul Youngquist

A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism

byPaul Youngquist

Hardcover | October 25, 2016

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Sun Ra said he came from Saturn. Known on earth for his inventive music and extravagant stage shows, he pioneered free-form improvisation in an ensemble setting with the devoted band he called the “Arkestra.” Sun Ra took jazz from the inner city to outer space, infusing traditional swing with far-out harmonies, rhythms, and sounds. Described as the father of Afrofuturism, Sun Ra created “space music” as a means of building a better future for American blacks here on earth.

A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism offers a spirited introduction to the life and work of this legendary but underappreciated musician, composer, and poet. Paul Youngquist explores and assesses Sun Ra’s wide-ranging creative output—music, public preaching, graphic design, film and stage performance, and poetry—and connects his diverse undertakings to the culture and politics of his times, including the space race, the rise of technocracy, the civil rights movement, and even space-age bachelor-pad music. By thoroughly examining the astro-black mythology that Sun Ra espoused, Youngquist masterfully demonstrates that he offered both a holistic response to a planet desperately in need of new visions and vibrations and a new kind of political activism that used popular culture to advance social change. In a nation obsessed with space and confused about race, Sun Ra aimed not just at assimilation for the socially disfranchised but even more at a wholesale transformation of American society and a more creative, egalitarian world.

Details & Specs

Title:A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of AfrofuturismFormat:HardcoverDimensions:372 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:October 25, 2016Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292726368

ISBN - 13:9780292726369

Customer Reviews of A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism


Extra Content

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPrelude to InfinityIntro: Wonder Inn1. Alien2. Marienville3. Bronzeville4. Thmei5. Egypt6. Washington Park7. Arkestra8. Immeasurable Equation9. El Saturn10. Isotope Teleportation11. Cry of Jazz12. Sputnik13. Rocketry14. Tomorrowland15. Interplanetary Exotica16. Space Music17. Myth Science18. Black Man in the Cosmos19. Space Is the Place20. Tokens of Infinity21. ContinuationOutro: Extensions OutNotesBibliographyDiscographyCredits and PermissionsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"I am bowled over. Youngquist explains—better than anyone before and, in many particular regards, for the first time—how Sun Ra’s poetically logical illogic and musically purposeful nothingness offered, and offers, a pathway for escaping the often-degrading experience of being African American in America. Youngquist dances seamlessly between hip insider talk and scholarly observation, between fiction and history, between celebration and criticism. This book is terrific, sensational. What a delight." - Barry Kernfeld, editor of The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and author of What to Listen for in Jazz