AMN Reviews: Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall Allen

Sun Ra Turns 100: Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall Allen
Review by Monique Avakian

“Every light is a vibrational sight and sound…”
–Sun Ra, The Other Side of Music, 1972

The overall feel of this show collected into a vibe that still activates for the positive, days later. On October 5, 2013, the Sun Ra Arkestra played an extended two sets totaling over four hours at Lincoln Center. Those of you who play jazz know the kind of physical stamina it takes to do so. Those of you who have never seen guys well over 60 and some well over 70 play like this (and dance throughout the room up and down the stairs), well, perhaps you might become more inclined to respect your elders. Many younger folks could not even begin to handle such a feat on a physical level. Of course, the younger players in the band are also to be commended — not only for keeping up, but each leading in his/her own unique way. The level of musicianship was astounding!

On a spiritual level, the group has managed to keep the essence of Sun Ra alive and well, largely under the firm, yet warm direction of original member, Marshall Allen. Dressed like the wizard he is, Allen led with superior conduction skills, wielded largely through osmosis with the band and supported with well-timed hand signals when necessary. Since the group nears the 25 mark in number of personnel, this was really impressive to witness. Other magic conjured by Allen translated to us through the use of visual symbolism (i.e., moving his fingers rapidly near the sax keys while not touching them, but still blowing in a kinesthetic sound~poem~kind~of~way). Allen also had an electronic wind instrument that he used judiciously. Near the end, I did wish for an analog theramin. However, since the band was playing the audience like a theramin, I guess the digital element didn’t really matter.

Another digital element that also augmented the experience consisted of artist Michael Arthur drawing live on a computer screen, with his images projected above the band. His style complemented the space~vibe, especially his choice of neon green, pink and black colors. The digital medium lent itself to a fluidity that kept pace with the band pretty well. The artist’s choice of themes mainly fell into portraiture of players, but at one point, he had hands playing strings inside a circle. A magnificently potent image!

The music was just spectacular. During the second set, the tunes were arranged to alternate between free improv creations (again, with nearly 25 players!) and standards morphed a la’ Ra. Oh, and by the way, the instrumentation included acoustic full sized harp, French horn, flute, samba drum, violin, spoken word and cello along with all the usual instrumentation you’d expect. Near the end, the ultimate in funk came through (this is a percussion section of five players after all). The last four tunes in particular waved throughout the room and right through the roof of The Allen Room, showering the city with blessings and delight on a cellular, as well as stellar, level.

At first I thought the location might make Sun Ra unhappy for socio-cultural reasons, but by the end, I think the significant irony actually lent another level of space he would have appreciated, especially since it forces us to confront the very uncomfortable social realities we all keep trying to ignore.

The Sun Ra Arkestra is an uplifting, wild experience that honors the legacy of a creative radical who remains radical to this day.

The Man Himself:
Sun Ra Montreux 1976 (II): Take The A Train
Sun Ra solo mind-blowing intro, followed by band:

Sun Ra – Interview + Live Toronto 1991

NEXT SHOW in nyc:

December 13 at NUBLU
As part of the NUBLU Jazz Festival December 4-22, 2013
62 Avenue C between 4th and 5th Streets, NYC
http://www.nublujazzfestival.com/

Arkestra Today:

http://www.sunraarkestra.com/1-index.html

Sun-Ra Related Art:
Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun-Ra
El Saturn and Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground 1954-68
Curated by John Corbett, Anthony Elms and Terri Kapsalis
Whitewalls books/Hyde Park Art Center

Sun Ra’s Poetry:
Sun Ra: Collected Works Vol. I: Immeasurable Equation
edited by Adam Abraham
Phaelos Books

Sun Ra Biography:
Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra
by John F. Szwed
Da Capo Press

In the half-between world, 

Dwell they: The Tone Scientists 

In notes and tone 

They speak of many things…
The tone scientists: 

Architects of planes of discipline 

Mathematically precise are they: 

The tone-scientists

~Sun Ra

Is that jazz? Explore improvisation, composition and more at Seattle festival

From the Seattle Times Newspaper:

Formal composition vs. spontaneous creativity is the prevailing theme at a series of experimental jazz performances called Is That Jazz? Seattle’s Avant Jazz Music Festival.

The festival convenes Friday night with two performances at the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford by the Sunship quintet and the Sun Ra Tribute Band, named for the jazz composer, pianist and philosopher who helped pioneer free jazz in the 1950s and ’60s. The event continues Saturday night with performances by esteemed clarinetist Bill Smith’s trio and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes’ big band, called Threat of Beauty.

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DMG Newsletter January 8th, 2010

From DMG:

Eri Yamamoto! Poulsen/Nilssen/Moholo! Milo Fine! Rob Paparozzi Sam Rivers! Douglas Ewart with Leo Smith! Crothers/Bisio! Muhal Richard Abrams/Roscoe Mitchell! Fred Ho! Walton/Hutcherson/Land! Schuller/Lovano/Motian! Sun Ra!..

Downtown Music Gallery FREE In-Store Performance Schedule Continues with:

Sunday, January 10th at 6pm:
JEREMIAH CYMERMAN / CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN / HARRIS EISENSTADT!
Extraordinary New Clarinet / Cello / Percussion Trio!

Sunday, January 17th at 6pm:
ANDY HAAS & DEE POP!
Two Magical/Mystical Musicians Return to DMG for a Rare Duo Set!

Sunday, January 24th at 6pm:
RAS MOSHE / KYOKO KITAMURA/ REUT REGEV / ANDERS NILSSON!
Master reeds wiz Ras brings his new to DMG!

Sunday, January 31st at 6pm:
JESSE ELDER & LOGAN RICHARDSON!
Excellent Piano & Alto Sax Duo & CD Release Celebration!

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Respect Sextet and Ethan Iverson coming to Le Poisson Rouge

From NY’s Le Poisson Rouge:

FORMED IN 2001, The Respect Sextet is a powerhouse ensemble dedicated to performing a wide variety of improvisational musics. Relying on their explosive energy, rare telepathy, outstanding musicianship, and a deep friendship, Respect pieces together free improvisations, original compositions, free jazz classics, television commercial jingles, text pieces, jazz standards, game pieces and more into “a whirling collage,” shouts Exclaim! Magazine, “that ransacks and reshapes the entire jazz tradition, from New Orleans march to Misha Mengelberg, Sun Ra to Charlie Parker.” Named “one of the best and most ambitious new ensembles in jazz” by Signal to Noise.

Respect returns to LPR’s stage on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 to present a set of exciting original music. Opening the show will be the innovative pianist Ethan Iverson (of The Bad Plus), playing a set of “cocktail music” on solo piano.

Tickets: $10 (Advance tickets available at http://lepoissonrouge.inticketing.com/events/62254)
Doors: 9:30pm Show time: 10:00pm
http://lepoissonrouge.com/events/view/795

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DMG Newsletter November 20th, 2009

From DMG:

Vandermark All-Star 10-CD Set! Evan Parker QT! Brotzmann Solo! Meredith Monk! Jose Maceda! Braxton & Leandre! Ivo Perelman Trio! John Wolf Brennan Solo! Bobby Previte Group! Swallow/Talmor/Nussbaum!

Gianluca Petrella Cosmic Sun Ra Band! Campbell/McPhee/Parker/Smith Ayler Project! David Murray! Trevor Watts! Leandre/Vidal/Boni! Jamaaladeen Tacuma! Bauer/Thomas/Buck! Tom Waits Live! Luc Ferrari! Rolf Kuhn Tri-O!

Wertmuller/Rupp! .. and Rupp/Pliaks/Wertmuller! Sommer/Phillips/Schoof/Trovesi! Leimgruber/Demierre/Phillips! Stockhausen! Bern/Brody/Rodach! Merzbow! Erdman/Steidle! Oren Ambarchi! Four Moondog CDs! Thomas Heberer Trio!

Bloodbath: King/Otomo/Umezu/Koichi! Gong 2032: Classic ‘Radio Gnome’ lineup Re-United! Unreleased Funkadelic!

and ..omigosh! ..Classic ‘Horo’ Albums FINALLY released on CD: Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, Archie Shepp, Konitz/Solal, Johhy Griffin!

**********

Downtown Music Gallery FREE In-Store Performance Schedule Continues with:

This Sunday, November 22nd at 6pm:
ANDERS NILSSON – Guitar Wiz Will Blow Your Mind!

Sunday, November 29th at 6pm – DoubleHeader!: NONOKO YOSHIDA & DAVE SCANLON!
Wonderful New Sax & Guitar Duo!
BIGGI VINKELOE & STEVE SWELL!
Swedish Alto Sax Great Meets Downtown Trombone Giant!

Sunday, December 6th at 6pm:
ERGO! Cuneiform Recording Artists Featuring:
BRETT SROKA / SAM HARRIS / SHAWN BALTAZOR!
Celebrating the Release of their Fabulous New CD!

Sunday, December 13th at 6pm:
MIKKO INNANEN / JOE FONDA / LOU GRASSI!
Superb Reeds / Acoustic Bass / Drums Trio!

Tuesday, December 15th at 6pm:
DANIEL LEVIN / INGEBRIGT HAKER-FLATEN / FRANK ROSALY!
New Cello / Contrabass / drums Trio! Rare DMG Tuesday Gig!

Sunday, December 20th at 6pm:
JUDITH INSELL & REUT REGEV!
Amazing New Viola & Trombone Duo!

Sundays, December 27th & January 3rd – nothing scheduled

Sunday, January 10th at 6pm:
JEREMIAH CYMERMAN / CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN / HARRIS EISENSTADT!
Extraordinary New Clarinet / Cello / Percussion Trio!

Sunday, January 17th at 6pm:
ANDY HAAS & DEE POP!
Two Magical/Mystical Musicians Return to DMG for a Rare Duo Set!

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The Squid’s Ear Reivews

From the Squid’s Ear:

Peter Evans:
nature / culture
(psi)

Archetti, Luigi / Bo Wiget:
Low Tide Digitals III
(Rune Grammofon)

Charity Chan:
Somewhere the sea and salt
(Ambiances Magnetiques)

Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Solar Research Arkestra:
Helsinki 1971 – The Complete Concert & Interview (2 CDs & DVD)
(Transparency)

Savoldelli, Boris & Elliott Sharp:
Protoplasmic
(MoonJune Records)

Blast 4tet:
Sift
(ReR Megacorp)

Cancura / Morris / Nazary:
Fine Objects
(Not Two)

Pansonic / Haino Keiji:
Shall I Download A Blackhole And Offer It To You
(Blast First Petite)

Fred Anderson:
Staying in the Game
(Engine)

Francois Carrier and Michel Lambert:
Nada
(Creative Sources)

Honsinger, Tristan & Massimo Simonini:
Call Me Us
(I Dischi de )

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Edgefest 2009

This year’s Edgefest takes place late next month in Ann Arbor.

SCHEDULE: Edgefest 2009 (subject to change)
Wednesday:
7PM KCH: Jason Stein’s Locksmith Isidore
9:30PM KCH: Roscoe Mitchell and Thomas Buckner

Thursday:
8PM KCH: Tomas Ulrich’s Cargo Cult
10PM KCH: Positive Knowledge

Friday:
8PM KCH: Gravitas
10PM KCH: 4 Altos and Third Man Trio

Saturday:
2PM KCH: Conspiracy Winds Ensemble
4PM KCH: Yuganaut with Roscoe Mitchell
7PM KCH: Brad Shepik’s Human Activity Quintet
9PM Place TBA: Reeding-The Riot Act
10:30PM KCH: Hamster Theatre

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