The Other Side of Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, the self proclaimed "Live Music Capitol of
the World" is already widely known for it's outstanding
blues, folk, and rock music. Yet there is a steadily
flourishing underground music scene of jazz, rap, and funk.
One event that highlighted the underground music scene
was the recent 100 Musician Collaboration and Show, a
benefit designed to help fund the Sun Ra Arkestra's
traveling expenses to Austin.
The free-form improvisational performance held at the
Mercury Club on 6th Street was an exhilarating blend
of music and culture. The stage was littered with hardcore
jazz players, third world percussion, rappers, and electric
This event was organized by Rashah Ahmen as an
instrument to help bridge the gap between the primarily
black East Austin and the primarily white West Austin.
Rashah's goals seem to be on track as the rotation of
musicians on the stage seemed to represent the entire cross
section of cultures and musical disciplines found in Austin.
It appears that having a common ground to express oneself,
in an environment where there are no wrong notes, can help
bring people together.
"Sun Ra was like a father to me," Rashah said when I
asked about the tie in to the late jazz innovator Sun
Ra. Rashah, also a percussionist, lived with and was
mentored by Sun Ra while living in Philadelphia. "I want
some of the younger musicians in town to experience the
musical genius of Sun Ra."
The Sun Ra Arkestra will perform at the Mercury on May
11 and May 12th. The 100 Musician Collaborations are
announced and coordinated through the local Austin media.
Cosmic Intuition Productions
Sun Ra Arkestra (I could not find an official Sun Ra web
site but there are several web sites dedicated to Sun Ra.)