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Marshall Allen

Duration:
1 hour, 45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 28 September 2009

Jez Nelson presents a gig by avant-garde saxophonist Marshall Allen performed at Cafe Oto. Known for his deeply spiritual approach to music, influenced by space-age science-fiction and Egyptian cosmology, Allen stopped by the small East London venue while on a European tour with the Sun Ra Arkestra. The band features the Arkestra's 25-year-old piano player Farid Barron alongside British musicians Paul Hession on drums and John Edwards on bass.

Marshall Allen met mystical keyboardist and bandleader Sun Ra in 1956. They lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded together as part of Sun Ra's big band The Arkestra for over 40 years. Allen assumed leadership of the group after the death of Sun Ra in 1993 and John Gilmore in 1995, and continues to write new pieces for it. Allen also frequently works in traditional African music with Olatunji and his Drums of Passion.

Excerpt from Moon Maiden by Duke Ellington (details below)

Marshall Allen recorded at Cafe Oto on 6 July 2009

Line-up for set one:
Marshall Allen (alto saxophone, Electronic Wind Instrument)
Farid Mundir Barron (piano)
Paul Hession (drums)

Linton Chiswick presents a feature on the relationship between the space race and jazz.

Music played during the feature:

Artist: Duke Ellington
Track: Moon Maiden
Composer: Duke Ellington
Album: The Intimate Ellington
Label: Pablo Records
Released: 1977

Artist: Shorty Rogers and His Giants
Track: Martians Go Home
Composer: Shorty Rogers
Album: Swingin' Mr Rogers
Label: Atlantic
Released: 1955

Artist: Betty Carter
Track: Something Wonderful
Composer: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Album: Out There with Betty Carter
Label: Blue Moon
Released: 1958

Artist: Gil Scott-Heron
Track: Whitey on the Moon
Composer: Gil Scott-Heron
Album: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Label: Bluebird RCA
Released: 1974

Artist: Sun Ra
Track: Space is the Place
Composer: Sun Ra
Album: Space Is the Place
Label: Impulse
Released: 1972

Artist: John Coltrane
Track: Sun Ship
Composer: John Coltrane
Album: Sun Ship
Label: Impulse
Released: 1965

Artist: Miles Davis
Track: In a Silent Way
Composer: Miles Davis
Album: In a Silent Way
Label: Legacy
Released: 1969

Artist: Sun Ra
Track: Spaceship Lullaby
Composer: Sun Ra
Album: Spaceship Lullaby
Label: Atavistic
Re-released: 2003

Artist: Sun Ra
Track: Rocket Number Nine
Composer: Sun Ra
Album: Space Is the Place
Label: Impulse
Released: 1972

Artist: Anthony Braxton
Track: Composition 323a
Composer: Anthony Braxton
Album: Trio (Glasgow) 2005
Label: Leo Records
Released: 2007

Artist: Sun Ra
Track: Sun-Earth Rock
Composer: Sun Ra
Album: Night of the Purple Moon
Label: Atavistic
Re-released: 2007

Recommended further reading:

Travelling the Spaceways: Sun Ra the Astro Black and other Solar Myths by John Corbett (WhiteWalls, 2009)

Blutopia: Visions of the future and revisions of the past in the work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington and Anthony Braxton by Graham Lock (Duke University Press, 1999)

Marshall Allen recorded at Cafe Oto on 6 July 2009

Line-up for set two:
Marshall Allen (alto saxophone, Electronic Wind Instrument)
Farid Mundir Barron (piano)
Paul Hession (drums)
John Edwards (bass).

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