Sun Ra Arkestra
Space is still the place: Since 1956, this intergalactic big band has been playing the jazz of the future
When musician Sun Ra bid farewell to planet Earth in 1993 and traveled back home to Saturn, his longtime collaborator Marshall Allen took over as leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra. This year, Allen is turning 99 years and continues to perform with the Arkestra - most recently at the 2018 Summer Festival and 2019 at the Überjazz Festival at Kampnagel. DER SPIEGEL wrote about the summer festival concert of the Arkestra, founded in 1956 and named after a combination of the ancient Greek word «archē« for primordial ground of the world and «orchestra«: this «virtuoso trip through the styles and varieties of jazz ... is about nothing less than the yesterday, today and tomorrow of Black music and pop culture.« Sun Ra's Afrofuturistic version of a better Black future (with outer space as a boundless space of freedom) has influenced jazz just as much as Detroit techno (whose originator Jeff Mills also plays at the summer festival. And still unfolds a cosmic power in the concert rituals of the multi-generational Arkestra, which are among the most memorable live experiences of this planet.