July 18, 2018 / 2:42 PM

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Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall Allen at Jazz at Lincoln Center [PHOTOS]


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On the centenary of Sun Ra's earthly birth, Jazz at Lincoln Center welcomed his Arkestra to Columbus Circle for the first time. Ever.

Ra founded the Arkestra some six decades ago to render a vision that drew, simultaneously, upon the ancient and the modern. Incorporating elements of Black vaudeville, modern dance, Egyptian cosmology, Eastern philosophy, numerology, surrealism, kitsch and, of course, the Bible, Ra's Arkestra was a canvas on which he deployed African rhythms, atonal melodies, electronic timbres, raw blues expression and indefatigable swing--framed by his legendary, one-for-all big band discipline.

No offense to the Yago Vazquez Trio who were playing in the atrium, but, as you can see in these exquisite shots by Ayano Hisa, the real, cosmic music came from the Allen Room at the Frederick P. Rose Center...the Marshall Allen Room, that is.

Backed by live drawings from Michael Arthur (a.k.a. "Toxey Goodwater"), highlights from "Sun Ra Turns 100: Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall Allen" included "Interplanetary Music," "Saturn" and the whole tone excursions of Coleman Hawkins' "Queer Notions."

And, lest I forget, "Space is the Place."

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