Cosmic Swing

NPR profiles jazz pianist Sun Ra:

Sun Ra sometimes took jazz in controversial directions — some even accused him of running a cult. However, band members like saxophonist Danny Thompson said, “We’re here to enlighten people’s minds about outer space, and try and better this planet.” Ra also influenced such musicians as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and Jackie McLean, and inspired the creation of the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians — an organization known for its relentless avant-garde aesthetic.

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