On the evening Sunday, October 16, I gave surprised the group who had gathered for a monthly listening party at Normal’s Books and Records. Ordinarily, the listening party is pretty straightforward: people listen to jazz records and talk about them a little bit. This one was different. It was almost Halloween, and how do you talk about a musician from another planet, anyway?
I decided to introduce the music of Sun Ra from the perspective of an intergalactic traveler. This is what I said, after appearing to them in strange garb, to the astonished audience:
I have prepared this message for you in your Earth language, and then we will play for you the transmissions from the disks. I Come to you tonight not as a music aficionado, nor as a perpetrator of any particular medium, but merely as a traveler. I come from the shadow on a moon that does not see the star you call the sun, but I have seen the sun. As a traveler, I hope to share with you some of where I’ve been, through time and space. Surely you can relate to this, as we are all every one of us vehicles of light, but you should know that there are many ways to travel. Travel is everything, because space is infinite and time is not linear. I come to you tonight to share transmissions that come from those who travel through nonlinear time and infinite space. Dig this: the dark time we live in is not the only time. Space is the place. Space is infinite. The only constant thing in the universe is light!
Here is a playlist of the music we heard that night, with an interstitial appearance by David Bowie, another musician from Outer Space.