The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening (Hardcover)
The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening
Candlewick Press (MA), 9780763658069, 40pp.
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Jazz musician Sun Ra (1914 1993) always said that he came from Saturn. Being from another planet, he was naturally intrigued by everything earthly especially music, because music is the one thing on Earth most like the stars. Earthlings themselves confused Sun Ra, the way they sorted themselves by color and fought wars against one another. So he made music. And he traveled with other musicians and singers, calling themselves the Sun Ra Arkestra, playing, singing, and dancing for people all over the planet. Because music, he said, is what holds us all together. Join acclaimed author-illustrator Chris Raschka in celebrating a legend of the jazz world who was truly one of a kind.
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Praise For The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening…
This tribute to the innovative jazz keyboardist and band leader synthesizes brilliant paintings with a narrative that strikes just the right chords for its audience. ... Incorporating musical notation sheets into luminous watercolor-and-ink pictures, Raschka repeats their horizontal lines in piano strings, library bookshelves, city blocks and the very rectangularity of many compositions. The joyful palette—yellow, red, blue-green, sienna—and wildly gestural black ink celebrate Sun Ra’s unique spirit. Unequivocally stellar.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Raschka’s chief metaphor is a rich one: Sun Ra (born Herman P. Blount) fancied himself as Saturn born, and thus his quizzical questioning of the world is depicted extraterrestrially... As an experience... [this book] definitely swings.
Raschka pictures Sun Ra and his Arkestra orchestra in chromatic gouache daubs and silhouette-black lowlights, bringing to mind Romare Bearden’s sultry palette and mellifluous collages. Raschka acknowledges the social and musical influences on the innovative artist... [and] provides a selective list of recordings, encouraging readers to consider Sun Ra’s nonconformity and genius alongside a first listen to his polyphonic music.