Honoring Marshall Allen
March 26, 2020
Space & Company
The board and staff of Ars Nova Workshop invite you to our second annual fundraiser. This year we honor Sun Ra Arkestra maestro Marshall Allen.
“There simply is no worthier cause for Philly music lovers with a taste for the adventurous and daring.”—The Key
Ars Nova has had a long and treasured relationship with Marshall and the Arkestra—just this year, we helped him celebrate his 95th birthday. Marshall’s longevity may be a testament to good genes, but it is just as much a testament to the power of music in his life, beginning in the early part of last century.
After 95 years on the planet, Allen remains a brilliant imaginative force whose life has spanned nearly the entire history of jazz – and whose career has folded that timeline in on itself in myriad fascinating ways. A key member of the Sun Ra Arkestra for more than six decades and its dauntless leader for the last quarter century, Allen has kept the iconic bandleader’s cosmic torch blazing brightly while forging a path through the spaceways as a singular voice on the alto saxophone and Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI).
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Allen moved to Philadelphia with his family in his teens before enlisting in the Army as a member of the 92nd Infantry, the famed Buffalo Soldiers. Upon his discharge he rejoined his family in Chicago, where he became enraptured by the music and teachings of Sun Ra. He’s remained with the Arkestra ever since, while also collaborating with a stunning array of artists including Sonic Youth, Paul Bley, Yo La Tengo, Medeski Martin and Wood, Phish and countless others. Under his leadership the Arkestra, based in the same Germantown row home since 1968, has toured tirelessly, bringing its message of interstellar unity to such renowned stages as Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Radio City Music Hall.
Ars Nova will present the Nova Award to celebrate this long-lived musical genius with an intimate gathering, featuring food, beverages, and a special concert by world-renowned musicians (to be announced), all in a beautiful 19th-century mansion in the heart of Center City. If last year’s inaugural fundraiser was any indication, this is going to be an unforgettable evening of conversation, appreciation, and fun, with the best that the jazz community has to offer. Not to be missed!
Honoring Marshall Allen