Sun Ra.... excerpt: 'A Recipe(less) Recipe'....
In my recent research into the fascinating life, music and self-fabricated 'mythology' that remains the legacy left to us of the famous Jazz-Big Band Keyboardist/ Leader Sun Ra (b. 1914 - d. 1993), I came across and wish to present here the following literary account. It takes place during the early 1960's, in downtown New York City, @ the Original, 'Sun Ra Arkestra' Headquarters, called: 'THE SUN PALACE'. This large house/ complex of apartments was located in the heart of the largely burnt-out, abandoned and dangerous 'East Village' @ 48 East 3rd Street.... what became a central focal point of a great cultural Renaissance. It is where Sun Ra and as much of his music entourage as could fit inside, had lived, planned, cooked, slept, created, rehearsed.... during the bulk of their experimental and 'galvanizing' 1960-68 NY Period - the critical point when the Arkestra's identity and purpose were first forged through hard work and discipline. This account is from, perhaps the finest biography ever available on Sun Ra, entitled: 'SPACE IS THE PLACE' (The Life and Times of SUN RA) by author, John F. Szwed, Pantheon Books, New York, 1997, pp. 195-196
I hope you will enjoy !
........ Sometimes when they were short of money for food he took over the cooking, and his cooking was like the music, individualized, spiritually guided, mysteriously concocted. MOON STEW was his chief dish, a mix of green peppers, onion, garlic, potatoes, okra, tomatoes, and ears of corn. And when it was done right, he said you could taste each ingredient individually. Once when he was asked to share the recipe for a musicians cookbook he warned the authors that there were no fixed proportions to it, and that it required the ingredients of sincerity and love, to say nothing of the ability to make the fire burn with psychic intensity.
........ 'You can't say, "One teaspoon of this, or one teaspoon of that". Like a musician, you improvise. It's like being on a spirit plane; you put the proper things in without knowing why. It comes out wonderful when ii's done like that. If you plan it, it doesn't work'.... (SUN RA)
Robert P Eustace copyright (intro notes) 2010