Saturday, May 25, 2024

Saturn Day Sun: Marshall Allen 100


Sun Ra Arkestra - Love In Outer Space

We'll end the month in the grandest possible style, with the first centennial I've ever posted on where the person is not only still alive, but constitutes a still-viable creative force in the world even at that advanced age.
I keep wanting these cats to form a band, all the over-90s form their own gang with Roy Haynes on drums, Sonny Rollins on tenor and this guy on alto.
His mentor -- who'd have been 110 three days ago -- has been gone over 30 years now, but don't tell our hero of heroes here, who's ever since been carrying the flame of the music and philosophy of Sun Ra forward into the current millennium as if nothing was amiss whatsoever.
I guess we could say Marshall Allen -- born this day in 1924 and still, somehow, playing gigs all over the world -- has been a pretty significant success as CEO of Outer Spaceways, Inc.
It takes a lot to leave a loudmouth such as I speechless, but this guy summons adjectives that just kind of land where they are, like "unbelievable" and "unprecedented".
I mean, you lead one of the most beloved bands in Jazz history into your hundreds??? What the actual fuzz! They just don't make them like Marshall anymore.
For me, it isn't just that he's still around and playing, that would be insane and stunning enough.
It's that what is still coming out of his horn is as fresh as what someone a third or less of his age might supply. That, my friends, is the kicker.
I saw our centenary sire play live once -- no, twice! -- once at a benefit at the Village Vanguard for Sun Ra's medical expenses back in the early 1990s, and once at Central Park Summerstage in NYC... that was when Sun Ra was still alive and the Arkestra opened for Sonic Youth! For free! Again that adjective of "unbelievable" rears its hyperbolic head.
What do you do for an occasion such as this? Most humans get nowhere near the 100 mark, much less Jazz musicians after a lifetime of recording, touring and surviving and so forth.
I'm sorry, I just can't get my mind over how someone of this vintage leads a huge band that people are invested in for decades upon decades, and handles the touring and musical logistics and so on for the thing as its acknowledged leader and arbiter. I'm past "unbelievable" and 'unprecedented" and I'm afraid I'm headed for "utterly astonishing" territory.
Anyway in a blog page that emphasizes milestone birthdays I dunno I'll ever detail one as milestone as today's, so in honor of Marshall Allen's unquantifiable achievements I have endeavored to introduce three different broadcasts of the Arkestra into audiological circulation. Of course I could put up commonly circulating things, but what fun would that be? And what would that do to distinguish today's guy from all the others? So let's get way down with a deep triple play from the planet Saturn.
The Sun Ra Arkestra
under the direction of Marshall Allen

Nancy Jazz Pulsations 2009
Nancy, France

01 Space Idol
02 Millennium
03 Big John's Special
04 Dreams Come True
05 Wish Upon a Star
06 Velvet
07 medley: It's After the End of the World/I'll Wait for You/Space Is the Place/Greetings from the 21st Century
08 unidentified title
09 In Between/We Travel the Spaceways incl. band intros

Total time: 1:01:38

Marshall Allen - alto saxophone, flute, EVI & vocals
Michael Ray - trumpet & vocals
Fred Adams - trumpet
Knoel Scott - alto saxophone & vocals
Reynold Scott - flute, alto & baritone saxophones
Dave Davis - trombone
Elson Nascimento - percussion
Juni Booth - bass
Farid Barron - keyboards
Wayne Anthony Smith, Jr. - drums
Dave Hotep - guitar

256/48k audio extracted from a DVD of digital satellite broadcast
converted to 16/44 CD Audio, edited & remastered by EN, May 2024
431 MB FLAC/link below

A38 Hajó
Buda Bridgehead
Budapest, Hungary

01 You'll Find Me
02 unidentified title
03 Somewhere/Greetings from the 21st Century/No Hiding Place Down Here
04 Nuclear War
05 Interplanetary medley: Second Stop Is Jupiter/We Travel the Spaceways/Journey to Saturn/Next Stop Mars
06 Hit that Jive, Jack outro & fade

Total time: 49:21

Marshall Allen - alto saxophone, flute, EVI & vocals
Fred Adams - trumpet
Michael Ray - trumpet & vocals
Dave Davis - trombone
Knoel Scott - alto saxophone & vocals
Yah Yah Abdul-Majid - tenor saxophone
Charles Davis - tenor saxophone
Danny Ray Thompson - baritone saxophone, flute & vocals
Dave Hotep - guitar
Juni Booth - bass
Wayne Anthony Smith, Jr. - drums
Elson Nascimento - percussion

384/48k audio extracted from a DVD of a digital satellite broadcast of an event broadcast from a ship anchored in harbor
converted to 16/44 CD Audio, edited & remastered by EN, May 2024
355 MB FLAC/link below

Livingston Studios
London, UK

01 Marshall Allen interview + introduction
02 Queer Notions
03 Sun Ra speaks
04 Space Chord
05 Wish Upon a Star
06 Saturn
07 Sun Ra speaks
08 Love In Outer Space
09 Dancing Shadows
10 Swirling incl. Sun Ra speaks
11 Sun Ra speaks
12 Discipline 27b
13 Sun Ra speaks
14 Angels and Demons At Play
15 Enlightenment

Total time: 1:19:57

Marshall Allen - alto saxophone, EVI & vocals
Tara Middleton - vocals & violin
Knoel Scott - alto saxophone, percussion & vocals
Charles Davis - tenor saxophone
Shabaka Hutchings - tenor saxophone & bass clarinet
Danny Ray Thompson - baritone saxophone, percussion & vocals
Cecil Brooks - trumpet
Vincent Chancey - French horn
Dave Davis - trombone
Farid Barron - piano & keyboards
Dave Hotep - guitar
Tylor Mitchell - bass
Elson Nascimento - percussion
Stanley Morgan - percussion
Wayne Anthony Smith, Jr. - drums

preFM capture, of indeterminate origin, of the 2014 BBC3 "Jazz On 3" broadcast honoring the centennial of Sun Ra & the 90th birthday of Marshall Allen
repaired & remastered -- with dead air very slightly trimmed to fit a single CD -- by EN, May 2024
first aired 6.30.2014
513 MB FLAC/direct link to all 3 shows in one folder
That's 3 hours and 10 minutes in testimony to what makes Marshall Allen as extraordinary a player and a person as I will ever cover here. Me? I'm already figuring out June, and I'm gonna try to make it as badass as May.

But I wanted to close out the month with an extra special tribute to an extra special cat, so I hope you'll receive it in that exact spirit as we celebrate the incredibly superlative centennialist Marshall Allen. Now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta get Charles Lloyd and Roy Haynes -- he better stay alive til 2025, cuz he's next on the 100 list! -- on the phone and finish assembling my 90+ Superband!!!--J.

It's after the end of the world.
Don't you know that yet?

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