Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reclaiming Sun Ra's Legacy



An excellent story by my friend Jim Knipfel about Sun Ra's posthumous legacy, posted at The Believer. The article discusses at length the work I've been doing since late 2013 administering and sorting out Ra's convoluted catalog and rights conflicts on behalf of Sun Ra LLC, the heirs of Herman Poole Blount. Pictured above: administrator and his "boss," Thomas Jenkins, Jr. (a.k.a. "Capt. T"), son of Ra's older sister Mary and patriarch of the family. Photo snapped Nov. 22, 2014, outside the Jenkins home in Powder Springs, Georgia.

From the article:
"Thomas—a man I love and admire for his diligence, humor, and strength of character—explained to me the parade of unscrupulous characters who, after Ra's departure, emerged from the shadows to assert rights without lawful claims. Jenkins provided conclusive, documented proof of chain-of-title on Ra's rights for Sun Ra LLC, as well as a chronicle of dubious, and in some cases provably fraudulent, claims by those who felt entitled to a financial stake in Sunny's artistic legacy. And when I say financial stake, I should add, such as it was. Ra died impoverished, and owed the IRS—are you ready?—$146,799.95." 
Chusid admits he had no idea what he was getting himself into when he agreed to step inside Sun Ra’s universe to try and sort a few things out.  “I did it to help Michael [D. Anderson], because he asked,” he says in retrospect. “I did not comprehend the scope of the task ahead and had no idea where it would lead. To be honest, I foresaw a tremendous expenditure of time and labor without any prospect of making it profitable. Just about every project I've developed—Raymond Scott, Esquivel, Jim Flora, Langley Schools, Shooby Taylor, outsider music—started as a labor of love, a challenge, something that intrigued me, and that was grounded on a unique artistic legacy that appealed to me. It was that way with Sun Ra. He's one of the great, unsung musical geniuses of the 20th century—easily dismissed as a crackpot or a charlatan by those who barely know his music. And if all you know is 'Space is the Place,' you don't know his music."

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sun Ra Arkestra New 2017 Summer - Fall USA Dates via Drusdow

Sun Ra Arkestra New 2017 Summer - Fall USA Dates via Drusdow

The Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen after concluding its second 2017 European Tour has nine new USA dates on its calendar with performances in Lowell, MA, Durkee, OR, Greensboro, NC, New York, NY, Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, and Brooklyn, NY.  With the previously announced four dates in San Francisco, CA, the band will be making thirteen USA performances running from July 29, 2017 to October 19, 2017.

The upcoming Arkestra 2017 World Tour dates in the USA range from free concerts at two folk festivals in Lowell, MA and Greensboro, NC to a four day landing at a theater in San Francisco, CA to an outdoor eclipse festival in Oregon to a benefit for the Arkestra in NYC to a return visit to a jazz club in Baltimore, MD to a new jazz festival in Philadelphia, PA where the band will perform "Space Is The Place" in its entirety to the Arkestra's headlining the BRIC Jazz Festival in Brooklyn, NY.

Marshall Allen, as Musical Director of the Arkestra, is now in his 59th year of continuous activity within the Sun Ra Arkestra. Marshall has been in the Arkestra 22 years longer than Sun Ra himself, as he continues moving forward at light speed while the Arkestra travels the spaceways.

On July 24, 2017, Marshall Allen was an honoree at the 2nd Annual Jazz Legacy Awards ceremony hosted by PA State Senator Vincent Hughes & Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes at the Clef Club in Philadelphia, PA.  There were six other world renowned Philadelphia jazz honorees who were recognized at this event.  Sun Ra Arkestra vocalist Tara Middleton gave Marshall an introductory tribute and presented him with his Jazz Legacy Award.

In the 65th Annual DownBeat International Critics Poll, The Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen came in 5th in the Big Band category.  This is the best result for the Arkestra in the DownBeat Critics Poll since Sun Ra left the planet.  Ahead of the Sun Ra Arkestra were the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Carla Bley with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

The current concert itinerary of the Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen is:

Saturday, July 29, 2017 - Lowell Folk Festival, Dutton Street Dance Pavilion, Lowell, MA - Free Show at 7:30 pm

Sunday, July 30, 2017 - Lowell Folk Festival, Dutton Street Dance Pavilion, Lowell, MA - Free Show at 3:00 pm

Thursday, August 3, 2017 - SF Jazz, Miner Auditorium, 201 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA - Show at 7:30 pm

Friday, August 4, 2017 - SF Jazz, Miner Auditorium, 201 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA - Show at 7:30 pm

Saturday, August 5, 2017 - SF Jazz, Miner Auditorium, 201 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA - Show at 7:30 pm

Sunday, August 6, 2017 - SF Jazz, Miner Auditorium, 201 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA - Show at 7:30 pm

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Eclipse Festival, Durkee, OR - Show Time TBA

Saturday, September 9, 2017 - National Folk Festival, Greensboro, NC - Free Show, Show Time TBA

Sunday, September 10, 2017 - National Folk Festival, Greensboro, NC - Free Show, Show Time TBA

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - Ukrainian National Home, 140 2nd Ave, 2nd Floor, New York, NY - Show at 7:00 pm

Friday, September 15, 2017 - Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., Baltimore, MD - Doors at 7:00 pm & Show at 8:00 pm

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - The October Revolution, Fringe Arts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA - Show Time TBA

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - BRIC Jazz Fest, BRIC Arts | Media House, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY - Show at 7:30 pm
                                       
All 2017 Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen 2017 World Tour dates continue to be in support of the "Babylon Live" CD release on the In + Out Record label. This CD was recorded live at the Babylon club in Istanbul, Turkey on May 21, 2014 during the first of four 2014 Sun Ra Centennial Arkestra European tours.


For additional information about Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen performances, including venue weblinks, please click on the "Tourdates" tab of the Sun Ra Arkestra website. Booking information for the Sun Ra Arkestra Directed by Marshall Allen is available by clicking on the "Info" tab of the Sun Ra Arkestra website, which is located at: http://www.sunraarkestra.com