Ballister + Marshall Allen
Thursday, April 14, 2022
8:00 PM
  • Performance

531 N. 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA
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Program Info

$20 General Admission
All Ages


Ballister with special guest Marshall Allen

  • Marshall Allen – alto saxophone
  • Dave Rempis – alto and tenor saxophones
  • Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello and electronics
  • PNL – drums

Please join us for a live performance by the explosive Chicago-Norwegian trio Ballister with very special guest Marshall Allen, legendary saxophonist and leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra. This in-person event will be presented by Ars Nova Workshop at PhilaMOCA in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 14, 2022.


Ballister is a transatlantic powerhouse featuring Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and PNL, three of the most active artists in the worldwide community of improvising musicians. This free-wheeling trio first came together at a closed session in 2009, and as any fan of improvised music can imagine the band hit hard from the first note and hasn’t looked back since. The unabashed energy of Rempis and PNL, coupled with the electrified cello antics of Lonberg-Holm, make for a powerful listening experience that combines driving grooves with noisy textures and occasional melodic interjections. These sliding and overlapping rhythms often give the music a feeling as if a rug is slowly being pulled out from underneath the listener while the music still maintains a strong forward momentum. Reference points include the Julius Hemphill groups of the 70’s and 80’s featuring Abdul Wadud, Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time, and the early-70’s explorations of Miles Davis’ electric bands.

“Ballister is named after a crossbow, and they put a premium on aggression,” writes Bill Meyer in DownBeat magazine. “There’s a freshness and sense of discovery in their wide-ranging music. But there’s also a deep and hard-earned understanding between these players which enables them to build tension to the point of shattering, and then surf gracefully upon the shards.”

Marshall Allen

For this once-in-a-lifetime performance Ballister will be joined by living Philadelphia legend Marshall Allen. After 97 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).

March 2021 — Marshall Allen stands in front of the Sun Ra House in Germantown, Philadelphia, home to the Arkestra for more than 50 years. Photo by Emma Lee (WHYY ).

Cover: PNL, Dave Rempis, and Fred Lonberg-Holm (left to right) of Ballister. Photo by Lasse Marhaug.