Sun Ra Arkestra | SFJAZZ
Sun Ra Arkestra
The enduring legacy of jazz visionary and legendary eccentric Sun Ra is celebrated by this ensemble made up of Arkestra veterans and a younger generation of exploratory musicians led by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who has been a fixture of Sun Ra’s bands since 1958. Born Herman Blount, the enigmatic composer and keyboardist known as Sun Ra created an entire universe of expression through his pioneering Afro-futurist concepts in music and philosophy. He integrated Ellington-influenced big band swing with free jazz, the blues, electronics, and African musical traditions while establishing a singular visual style that combined futuristic concepts with ancient Egyptian iconography. One of the most prolific recording artists of all time, he released over a hundred full-length albums and innumerable singles during his career. His Arkestra appeared on Saturday Night Live, and was named Best Big Band in DownBeat’s Critics Poll five times. Since his death in 1993, the Arkestra has continued to record and perform, led first by the late tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, and under the direction of Allen for the last dozen years. Sun Ra claimed to have come from the planet Saturn to bring peace to Earth. His Arkestra continues this mission, needed now more than ever.