I sat and watched the Sun Ra Arkestra perform in the West Philly late summer sunset weather. It occurred to me how important hearing Sun Ra was to a younger me. I thought I knew a lot more than I actually did. I was confident and even arrogant in my knowledge of the world.
When I heard Sun Ra, his music struck me as unusual, more unusual than many other bands and in ways I could not understand at all. It really rattled me. It caused me to rethink how I engaged with some basic things– music, bands, and concepts like earth, Saturn, space, melody, fantasy, and reality. Words and their meanings. Confronting the weirdness of Sun Ra helped me realize that much of what we rely on and believe in are just as artificial as the fantasies Sun Ra invented. The laws and rule we take for granted as based on assumptions and beliefs. Sun Ra had a different understanding and out of it came beautiful music. It was a seminal moment in my understanding that we are only moored to the world through tenuous beliefs.
It was a really nice night in West Philly, cool and breezy. Fall is coming.