Sun Ra founded the Sun Ra Arkestra in Chicago in the mid-1950’s. Sun Ra was among the earliest pioneers of the synthesizer and the free jazz revolution of 1960’s. Sun Ra sent a strong spiritual and musical message to his Arkestra wanting them to help make the universe better through positive vibrations and music.
The Sun Ra Arkestra are known worldwide for their live shows that combine big band swing, space-age jazz, singing, dancing, chanting and Afro-pageantry. The Arkestra has been at the forefront of ‘Afro-futurism’ since their inception.
Maestro Marshall Allen, the avant-garde alto saxophonist, is 99 years young and has been directing the Arkestra since 1995. Marshall has been performing with the Sun Ra Arkestra since the mid-1950’s. In addition to alto saxophone, he also plays on flute, oboe, and EVI (electronic valve instrument).
The Arkestra’s 2020 album “Swirling” was nominated for a Grammy Award for best big band jazz ensemble recording.
After more than 60 years, the band continues to travel the globe on their Inter Galactic tour. Recent highlights include shows at the Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall with Solange, The Berlin Opera House, the Burlington Jazz Festival and four nights at SF Jazz
In 2024 they will be performing at the Jazz & Blossoms Festival in Washington, DC, The Ecliptic Festival in Hot Springs, Arkansas, two European tours and a benefit show for the Trombone Shorty Foundation in New Orleans.
They will be appearing at Sony Hall in NY on June 15 with Yo La Tengo as a part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival.
“The possible has been tried and failed. Now it’s time to try the impossible.” Sun Ra