Fireside Chat

Sun Ra Arkestra

JazzFeature
60 minsFirst aired 8 May 2016Next Fireside Chat Tomorrow at 8:00pm EDT
Courtesy of Marshall Allen

Sun Ra Arkestra director and astral jazz legend Marshall Allen charts his way through the group’s cosmic history.

Sun Ra – visionary, mystic, poet, angel, pianist and jazz arranger extraordinaire – might have departed this planet over 20 years ago, but his spirit and musical influence still reverberate today. The 25-piece Arkestra, with 90-year old alto saxophonist Marshall Allen at the helm, continues to travel the spaceways playing all around the world and spreading Ra’s myth far and wide. From barber shop harmonies and big band swing, to freeform electronics and New York noise, to Black Panthers, Walt Disney covers, space chants and the original unquantized snare: we’re still just catching up with Sun Ra’s vision. The Arkestra, featuring long time members such as trumpeter Michael Ray and Danny Ray Thompson on woodwinds, continues to honor Sun Ra’s memory with their intergalactic theatre, complete with resplendent gowns, Ancient Egyptian mythologies, and cosmic jazz equations.

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