Christopher Eddy from Sun Ra Arkive: From the perspective of Outsider art, you really couldn’t have chosen a figure more “outside” than Sun Ra. From your perspective as an expert on Outsider art, where do think Sun Ra’s place and role is in that lineage?
Irwin Chusid, Administrator for Sun Ra LLC: As with the most significant outsider artists, Sun Ra is sui generis. He has the one quality you can’t fake: identity. He didn’t blaze a path for other musicians, because no one could replicate his intuitive gifts, his eccentricities, his style. There may be other artists you’d “like” if you “like” Sun Ra, but there is no one LIKE Sun Ra. You, Christopher, once referred to Sunny’s legacy as a “deep, creative well.” Richard Segan said that “Sun Ra is the most advanced musician we have ever had on this planet.” I can’t speak in absolutes, but his catalog spans the spectrum and defies simple distillation. It’s challenging to absorb everything. I’ve occasionally joked that “with Sun Ra’s music, there’s something for everyone to hate.” In the whole of his recorded output, you get everything but consistency and predictability. There’s sweet melodies you could play at wedding receptions, and confrontational noise-art that could spark fisticuffs. He covers Gershwin with panache, then brutally assaults his keyboard. No wonder NRBQ's Terry Adams is a fan.