Sun Ra, born Herman Blount in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914, was an American Free-Jazz composer, pianist and band leader. He was a pioneer of free improvisation and modal jazz, as well as an early user of electronic keyboards and synthesizers. Sun Ra's music innovations and visionary experiences set him apart as a true musical innovator. He formed the Sun Ra Arkestra in the 1950s and continued to compose and perform until his death in 1993.Born and raised in Alabama, Sun Ra showed exceptional talent as a pianist from a young age. By the age of 11, he could sight-read and compose music. As a teenager, he performed with local jazz and R&B bands before taking on his first full-time musical job leading the Sonny Blount Orchestra. In the mid-1930s, Sun Ra had a transformative experience during deep meditation where he claimed to have been transported to Saturn by beings from outer space who tasked him with spreading peace through music.