Sun Ra Arkestra
William Parker’s Curtis Mayfield Project
Wednesday, March 4, 2020 7pm, at The Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street, NYC
Arts for Art celebrates 25 years of programming with Sounds of Justice, a night of intergenerational FreeJazz/AfroFuturism, on March 4th at NYC’s historic The Town Hall. Both the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen and William Parker’s Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield are steeped in a commitment to the ideals of music and art as agents of social change, exemplifying the very ethos of Arts for Art. This boundary-breaking blend of FreeJazz, funk, R&B, and soul aesthetics looks both back and into the future, bridging time and space to share warnings, hope, and inspiration.
Under the leadership of Marshall Allen, the Arkestra carries the Sun Ra experience of sound, dance, song, light, and color into the present. Having joined the Arkestra in the 1950s, Allen is uniquely positioned to move this performance tradition forward, further cementing Sun Ra and the Arkestra’s twinned legacies as both progenitors and practitioners of the genre now called AfroFuturism. The Town Hall performance will include video art and painting by NYC artist William Mazza to create a synesthetic sight/sound experience of Sun Ra and his mind-bending view of the universe.
William Parker’s highly acclaimed, intensely free Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield builds upon both the text and music of the politically engaged and activist singer-songwriter. This latest version of Parker’s ongoing project includes an expanded band with vocalist Leena Conquest joined by Thomas Sayers Ellis performing Amiri Baraka’s and his own poetry. Filmmaker Moon Lasso’a impressionistic video portrayal of the texts and sounds of Curtis Mayfield and William Parker will complete the experience.
Arts for Art, presenter of the internationally renowned Vision Festival, is focused on developing strategies for the future as it enters its 25th year: how to better the world in which we live, and how to inspire, grow, and build a diverse community of uncompromising artists and audiences.