SummerStage was established by the Central Park Conservancy to bring a diverse selection of music to the park in a series of free performances during the summer months. The first concert was held at the Naumberg Bandshell in 1986 and featured the Sun Ra Arkestra.
In 1986, our gang didn’t venture uptown much—anything north of 14th Street (or west of Broadway, for that matter)—was considered terra non grata. We didn’t like sunshine or the outdoors so much either. But a Sun Ra show? Free? OK, all aboard the 6 train (or, the A Train maybe?)! As long as we could get back downtown by nightfall.
I remember 1986 as a particularly unpleasant year, for the most part. I was heartbroken, lonely and depressed and was working shitty temp jobs on Wall Street and drinking too much. But I remember this day very well, ‘cause the show put a big smile on my face. I was very happy to have the chance to hear it again. Get your ticket here!
Personnel (best guess):
Sun Ra-piano, synthesizer, vocals
Pat Patrick—alto saxophone, clarinet
Marshall Allen—alto saxophone, flute, piccolo, oboe
Danny Ray Thompson—alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, flute, bongos
John Gilmore—tenor saxophone, clarinet, timbales
Eloe Omoe—alto saxophone, alto clarinet, bass clarinet
James Jacson—bassoon, Ancient Egyptian Infinity Drum
Ronald Wilson—tenor saxophone
Carl LeBlanc—electric guitar
Thomas Hunter, Earl “Buster” Smith—drums