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Blount, Herman Poole (Sun Ra, Le Sony'r Ra, Sonny)

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Born: 1915 AD
Died: 1993 AD, at 78 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Musicians

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1914 - Herman Poole Blount was born on May 22nd in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 22th. From very early on he was known as Sonny -- spelled with an "o," of course.

1932 - He graduated from high school in January, he was already playing piano on a substitute basis with bands like the Society Troubadours.

1933 - He transcribed a band arrangement off a record for the first time. It was "Yeah Man", freshly released by Fletcher Henderson.

1934 - Sonny Blount went on a tour of the Southeast with a band led by Ethel Harper, a biology teacher who had ambitions to make it as a singer.

         - The Sonny Blount Band ranged as far as Chicago, where Sonny joined the Musicians' Union local on December 15th.

1942 - Blount declared himself a Conscientious Objector, but during a war in which there was little tolerance for COs, the answers he gave on his questionnaire displeased the authorities. He spent five weeks in jail in Jasper, Alabama, then was sent to a Civilian Public Service Camp in a place called Marienville, in the boondocks of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

1943 - He was out of jail on a physical disability discharge, because he had a hernia.

1947 - The Henderson stint ended on May 18th. Sonny had no trouble keeping himself busy. During this period he backed R&B singer Lil Green.

1948 - The band broke up when Gene Wright went off with Count Basie in December. Around this time, Sonny performed for two weeks with Coleman Hawkins and Stuff Smith.

1949 - Sonny and Tommy Hunter began playing in trios in Calumet City, a Chicago suburb mainly known for its strip joints.

1950-1951 - He started a band to play his own, frankly far-out music. He called it the Space Trio: one charter member was Pat Patrick, who played alto and baritone sax.

1952 - Proclaimed his vocation: that he was a citizen of Saturn, not of Planet Earth; that he was not human, but rather of an angel race; that he was to serve as the Cosmic Communicator, bringing the Creator's message to benighted Earthlings.

         - On October 20th, he officially changed his name to Le Sony'r Ra -- Ra after the Egyptian sun god, Sony for reasons both heliocentric and mundane, and an extra r' to bring the total up to a lucky nine letters.

1993 - Died on May 30th in Birmingham, Alabama due to pneumonia. His remains were buried in Elmwood Cemetary.

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Page last updated: 10:10pm, 09th Mar '07