Function. Greetings from Saturn

By Jo Phillips

Unfortunately, I never managed to see Sun Ra himself perform but I have seen the Arkestra a few times now; the most memorable time for me is when I bumped into the Arkestra on a flight, started chatting with El Ra and managed to get myself on the guest list for their performance, as I was playing a five minute taxi ride away.” – Steve Bicknell

Sun Ra was not born on earth but he comes from outer space, more specifically Saturn, so he tells all. Tracks named, ‘Love in Outer Space’, ‘Plutonian Nights’ and ‘Dance of the Cosmo Aliens’, are all in tune with his otherworldly persona. The Sun Ra Arkestra, first established in 1956 Chicago, established by Herman Boole Blount (Sun Ra), is a vibrant musical anomaly, still performing today, inspiring listeners and contemporary performers all over the world. The group creates music outside of conventional styles and clearly takes influences not from history but the futuristic unknown. Sun Ra himself is not just deemed the founder of Avant-Garde Jazz, but a poet and philosopher. His influences drew from science fiction, cosmology, and futuristic concepts, (due to his not being born on earth of course).

Arkestra is now Marshall Allen from 2007 and continues Sun Ra’s vision of embracing and fusing multiple influences, such as Egyptology and space age fashion, to create an eclectic and mystical contemporary performance. The formless unruly structures of jazz performed by musicians adorned in sparkling, gemstone coloured coats and headdresses, combine to make the experience a theatrical and musical delight.

Don’t miss your last chance to see the full article on our magazine here, before we launch our new issue.