The Sun Ra Arkestra is the name most commonly used for the current incarnation of Sun Ra's original band, now led by Marshall Allen.
Since 1954, Marshall Allen has been the ferocious core of the Arkestra. Under his direction, big band and swing are played to perfection and beyond. A master of both "inside" and "out," Allen steers the Arkestra to realize possibilities of future and past, always extending both, ever in cahoots with the alter-destiny. From “Medicine for a Nightmare” and “El Is a Sound of Joy” to “Astro Black” and “Enlightenment,” Arkestra performances are a ritual experiment.
Fifteen members strong, the Arkestra's big-band traditionalism is as radical today as their afro-futurist iconoclasm has been since the 1950s. Sun Ra brought early synthesizers to big band arrangements, took to the stage in processions of sparkling dancers, and explained with patient confidence that he, and perhaps we, were neither human nor Earthbound.
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