Article on Danny Ray Thompson from JazzTimes:
Danny Ray Thompson, a saxophonist and key creative force in the Sun Ra Arkestra over a span of more than 50 years, died March 12 at a hospice center in Philadelphia. He was 72.
His death was announced in a posting on the Sun Ra Arkestra’s website. It read, in part, “Danny Ray Thompson is now traveling the spaceways, joining the many beloved Arkestra members who have previously left the planet and who now soar with the spirit of Sun Ra.”
Marshall Allen, who has directed the Sun Ra Arkestra since 1993, told The New York Times that Thompson had long been battling an illness, the nature of which Allen did not disclose. JazzTimes has since learned that the illness was lung cancer.
A multi-instrumentalist, Thompson joined Ra’s band in 1967, when it was based in Thompson’s hometown of New York City. He transitioned with the Arkestra to Philadelphia in the mid-1970s, remaining in its ranks through the bandleader and composer’s death in 1993 and rejoining the band in the 2000s. In that time he performed on over 70 of the Arkestra’s recordings, under the direction of both Ra and Marshall Allen.