Photo of Marshall Allen by Seth Tisue
|Birth name||Marshall Allen|
|Born||May 25, 1924|
|Origin||Louisville, Kentucky, United States|
|Instruments||Saxophone, flute, oboe, piccolo, EVI|
|Associated acts||Sun Ra, Paul Bley|
Marshall Belford Allen (born May 25, 1924) is an American free jazz and avant-garde jazz alto saxophone player. He also performs on flute, oboe, piccolo, and EVI (an electronic valve instrument made by Steiner, Crumar company).
Allen is best known for his work with eccentric keyboardist/bandleader Sun Ra, having recorded and performed mostly in this context since the late 1950s, and having led Sun Ra's Arkestra since 1993. Critic Jason Ankeny describes Marshall as "one of the most distinctive and original saxophonists of the postwar era."
Marshall Allen was born in Louisville, Kentucky.
He is best known for his mastery of pyrotechnic effects on the alto – he has said that he "wanted to play on a broader sound basis rather than on chords" (1971 interview with Tam Fiofori)). The opportunity came through his long association with Sun Ra, with whom he performed almost exclusively from 1958 to Ra's death in 1993, although he did record outside the Arkestra, with Paul Bley's group in 1964 and Olatunji's group during the mid-1960s. Critic Scott Yanow has described Allen's playing as "Johnny Hodges from another dimension".
Since Sun Ra and John Gilmore died, Allen has led the Arkestra, and has recorded two albums as their bandleader. In May 2004, Allen celebrated his 80th birthday on stage with the Arkestra, as part of their performance at the Ninth Vision Festival in New York City. Allen gave other performances on his birthday in 2008 at Sullivan Hall and at Iridium Jazz Club in 2018, both in New York City.
Allen often appears in NYC-area collaborations with bassist Henry Grimes and has also participated in the "Innerzone Orchestra" together with Francisco Mora Catlett, Carl Craig and others in an appreciation of Sun Ra's music.
For Recordings With Sun Ra See: Sun Ra
- 1988: Mark-N-Marshall: Monday
- 1988: Mark-N-Marshall: Tuesday
- 1999: Pozest
- With Paul Bley
- Barrage (ESP-Disk, 1965)
- With Trey Anastasio
- "Surrender to the Air" (Elektra, 1996)
- The Dropper (Blue Note, 2000)
- Loveletter #2 The Ra Sessions (Hobart Films & Records, 2005)
- With Hawk Tubley & The Airtight Chiefs
- Cooking With Dynamite! (2011)
- With Dave Soldier
- The Eighth Hour of Amduat (Mulatta Records, 2016)
- Official website of the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen
- Marshall Allen discography at Discogs