Written by from NPR
Sun Ra was a big-band innovator, a pioneer of recording and playing with electronics in jazz, a poet, a cosmic philosopher, a bandleader and a keyboard innovator who claimed to be from Saturn. Herman Poole Blount would have turned 100 in 2014 had he not left us more than 20 years ago. But his spirit lives on, and so does his music.
On Friday, his band the Sun Ra Arkestra — complete with costumes inspired by Egyptian symbolism and science fiction — will play a rousing, out-of-this-world and original Tiny Desk Concert. The band is led by 91-year-old alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who’s been with the Arkestra since the early 1950s. All these years later, no one makes soul-stirring, spaced-out jazz quite like this band. We’re honored they’re here and proud to blow your mind.