Sun Ra was a big-band innovator, a pioneer of recording and playing with electronics, a poet, a cosmic philosopher, a bandleader and a keyboard innovator who claimed to be from Saturn. Herman Poole Blount would have turned 105 in 2019 had he not left earth 25 years ago. But his spirit lives on, and so does his long-running band.
The Arkestra plays complete with costumes inspired by Egyptian symbolism and science fiction. It's spirtually led by 95-year-old alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who's been with the Arkestra since the early 1950s, and logistically led by percussionist Elson Nascimento (El Ra). All these years later, no one makes soul-stirring, spaced-out jazz quite like the Arkestra.