THE SUN RA ARKESTRA | London, Union Chapel

The 60th Anniversary Concert of Sun Ra Arkestra explodes onto the Union Chapel stage all a blast. There is an intergalactic utterance of horns, a splash of sequins and we’re underway.

Under the direction of the defiantly experienced alto-sax of Marshall Allen, Sun Ra’s legacy is alive in the form of this ensemble. They temper interplanetary connection with the graffiti and spice of instrumental sympathy and expression.

There are tighter numbers to be had in the middle of the set where a beautiful rolling bass solo works into a whole band number. Eventually, there’s dancing as the chant ‘free yourself, free your mind’ rings out across the chapel; it’s a fine mantra.

With a clean guitar to punctuate spunky riffs and a heavy brass end to back it up, Sun Ra Arkestra are still the be all and end all of cosmic jazz (in this universe at least).

Sun Ra Arkestra perform at Norfolk & Norwich Festival on Friday 13 May. New album Babylon Live is out on In + Out Records.

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