Adopted name of Herman P Blount (1914-1993) US jazz keyboard player, bandleader, and composer, whose eccentricity matched his avant-garde experimental music. His big band, the Arkestra, formed in the 1950s, combined free-form and traditional jazz, African percussion, and synthesizer effects.
Blount was born in Birmingham, Alabama, studied piano at Alabama AandM University, and then moved to Chicago, where he worked 1946–47 as arranger and pianist for bandleader Fletcher Henderson. In 1960 the Arkestra, or Solar Arkestra, relocated to New York.
Sun Ra’s more than 300 compositions were often released on his own Saturn label. They include “Brainville” 1956, “Cosmic Explorer” 1970, and the albums Sound of Joy 1957 and Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra 1965.