Sun Ra Turns 100: Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall Allen at Jazz at Lincoln Center
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On the centenary of Sun Ra's birth (1914-1993), we warmly welcome The Arkestra to The Allen Room for the first time. Sun Ra organized The Arkestra sixty years ago as a platform to render a vision that simultaneously drew on the ancient and the modern, incorporating elements of black vaudeville, modern dance, Egyptian cosmology, Eastern philosophy, numerology, surrealism, kitsch, and the Bible. The Arkestra served as a canvas on which Sun Ra deployed African rhythms, atonal melodies, electronic timbres, raw blues expression, and unfailing swing, framed by one-for-all big band discipline. Sun Ra lives on in the current edition of the ever-changing Arkestra, led by alto saxophonist-woodwindist Marshall Allen, a founding member of the Arkestra since the late '50s. This show will also feature visual effects to underscore Sun Ra's persistent modernity. It promises to be a most memorable journey.