Live Concert Photography: Sun Ra Arkestra with Stuart Bogie Trio at NUBLU 151 12/9/16
Founded by the eccentric and legendary avant garde composer, synth player, poet, bandleader and pianist Sun Ra, the Sun Ra Arkestra has been Sun Ra’s backing band since the 1950s. The collective has a long-held reputation for an extremely flexible and mutable lineup and name, and during its various iterations, the members of the collective have continued to reflect Sun Ra’s uncompromisingly and mischievously weird aesthetic which meshed noise, drone, funk, bop jazz, free jazz, jazz fusion, ambient electronica, sci fi and ancient Egyptian mythology into a trippy and heady mix. While Sun Ra and his Arkestra were onsidered strange in an age in which artists were relentlessly experimenting and pushing sonic boundaries, and never achieved massive commercial success, Sun Ra and the Arkestra have a long-held reputation as being at the forefront of the Afrofuturism movement, and in many ways as a result, their work has managed to influence a number of artists.
And despite the fact that the le, bandgendary leader died more than 20 years ago, some of the core members of the Arkestra — namely Marshall Allen, and a few others have continued playing Sun Ra’s music, ensuring that the man’s eccentric and joyful vision and music and his message of peace, understanding and cosmic love are known to younger generations of musicians and music fans. Last week, the Sun Ra Arkestra played a mind-behind an amazing two sets at NUBLU 151 as part of the venue’s month long NUBLU Jazz Festival, which had artists across the spectrum of jazz playing at both their original location on Avenue C between East 4th and East 5th Streets and their newest location between on Avenue C between East 9th and East 10th Streets.
Opening the night was the Stuart Bogie Trio which features two highly-accomplished musicians in their own right: Stuart Bogie, a cofounder of JOVM mainstays Superhuman Happiness, who has also worked with an incredibly diverse and impressive array of artists including Arcade Fire, Iron and Wine, Public Enemy, Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket, TV on the Radio, Antibalas, Phish, Sway Machinery, Glen Hansard, Barry Gibb, Dr. Dog, Rod Stewart, The Roots, Chic, Gomez, Butch Morris, Alabama Shakes, tUnE-yArDs, Matana Roberts, the Wu Tang Clan, Kronos Quartet, the legendary and dearly missed Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Angelique Kidjo, Sharon Van Etten, Holly Miranda, Luluc, Medeski Martin and Wood, Passion Pit, Foals, Amadou and Mariam, Gomez, DJ Logic, Dennis Ferrer, St. Vincent, David Byrne, Bright Black Morning Light, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Autre Ne Veut, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, Cass McCombs and Saul Williams either as a touring musician or a session musician. Along with frequent collaborator, production partner and former bandmate Luke O’Malley, Bogie and O’Malley wrote the score for the Oscar and Emmy-nomiated documentary How to Survive A Plague. Miles Arntzen, a frequent collaborator of Bogie’s, who has been either a full-time or live member of Superhuman Happiness over the years, the frontman of the acclaimed and now-defunct JOVM mainstay act EMEFE and a member of Antibalas along with Bogie. Rounding out the trio was Adam Roberts, a multi-instrumentalist best known for his work as a jazz bassist, who has toured with Melba Moore and played with Broadway stars Gavin Creel and Shayna Steele, Dutch vocalist Aafje Van Summeren, Hayes Greenfield and Betty’s Diner, Walter Parks, The Goldsparkle Band, and Patchen & Roberts, as well as in a number of locally-known acts including The Steve Blanco Trio and his own band, The Adam Roberts Tree, Yo. And if you watched Sundance Channel’s Iconoclasts or the major motion picture The Cooler, you would have heard Roberts’ bass. The trio along with a percussionist, played an impressive and completely improvised set of material that revealed a group of musicians, who were so much on the same page that the material felt as though it were previously written and was waiting to be recorded.
For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/yankee32879/39g33C