Marshall Allen as a nominee for Jazz Masters Lifetime Achievement Award; also the Pew Fellowships

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#1 Wed, 2011-08-24 02:48
Margaret Grimes
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2010-12-22 23:45

Marshall Allen as a nominee for Jazz Masters Lifetime Achievement Award; also the Pew Fellowships


face=Garamond>Hello, Knoel and all.  I remember sending out the call for
Maestro Marshall Allen to receive an NEA Jazz Master's Award as far back as
January of 2OO3, composing a letter to the NEA along with retouching and
submitting a bio for him, and urging others (including everyone in the Sun Ra
group) to send their letters in, very much as you (Knoel) are doing now. 
But Marshall Allen did not receive the award that year, and I tried again to get
this going in subsequent years.  The NEA actually abolished the Jazz
Master's program in budget cuts earlier this year, but the House Appropriations
Committee reversed that decision.  So maybe a concerted (pun intended)
effort can win out this year.  If Liz Stark receives a thousand letters
recommending Marshall Allen, I'd think that should do it.  Further

face=Garamond> href="">

Everyone must send in her / his own original letter, but in case
my previous efforts might be useful for this one, here's my Email and Marshall
Allen's bio that I unearthed from 2OO3:

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face="Times New Roman">On Friday, January 24, 2003 at 9:28 AM, Margaret Davis

American Jazz Masters Fellowships
National Endowment for the
Nancy Hanks Center, 11OO Pennsylvania Ave., NW, room 7O3

January 23, 2OO3

By means of this letter, please
permit me to nominate Maestro Marshall Allen, present-day leader of the Sun Ra
Arkestra, for an American Jazz Master's Award.  I'm sure music experts such
as you are fully aware that this very young 78-year-old is a brilliant
alto-saxophone player, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and conductor
who joined Sun Ra's Arkestra back in the '5O's and has never left it
since.  He can be heard playing lead alto and other instruments with the
Arkestra on more than 2OO recordings, and he assumed leadership of the Sun Ra
Arkestra seven years ago in the line of succession designated by Sun Ra himself.

With dauntless spirit, will, and dedication, Marshall Allen
continues Sun Ra's music and legacy in particular, but also the music and legacy
of American big bands going back to the very beginnings of the music called
jazz, knowing and celebrating the entire history of this music, while igniting
its evolution far into the future.  He does all this, has been doing it all
these years, with unlimited fortitude, passion, skill, devotion, and
inspiration.  He's unassuming, humorous, gentle, and open to all when he's
off the bandstand, while exhibiting total mastery and iron control when in
Marshall Allen is an American original and an
American idealist.  He exemplifies a level of selfless humility and lack of
greed that rival the purest of saints, constantly sacrificing for the benefit of
the Sun Ra Arkestra as a community, and in a larger sense, for the benefit of
this entire sick and embattled planet.  He has lived through and played
music through the most unimaginable personal hard times, and even though
everyone in the music world knows that it's impossible to sustain a working big
band for any length of time, he keeps on doing it.  Moment by moment, he
makes it happen, and he makes it swing!  He struggles, he has faith, he
endures, and he prevails. 
He's small and wiry and mystical
and fierce and funny, he's full of love and truth, and he makes hearts sing all
over the world.  He's magic.  More than an ambassador of good will,
he's our Ambassador of Joy. Even the most hard-hearted cynic becomes an innocent
laughing child in his presence. 
There is no one else on the
planet doing anything like this!  We need Marshall Allen desperately, and
as a country we have never rightfully honored him or acknowledged his
Please grant Maestro Marshall Allen an American Jazz
Master's Award.  You'll be very glad you did.

Sincerely,  Margaret Davis 
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Marshall Belford Allen, alto saxophonist,
multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, and arranger, was born May 25, 1924
in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Nathan and  Mamie Allen, brother to
Nathan Allen of Anchorage, Alaska, Marie Rose in Chicago, Barthinia of Las
Vegas, Freda in Seattle, and Louise, Nuncia, and Margaret (deceased). 

Marshall Allen started clarinet lessons at age 1O. At age
18 he enlisted in the U.S. Army's 92nd Infantry (renowned as the Buffalo
Soldiers), playing clarinet and alto saxophone in the 17th Division Special
Service Band. Stationed in Paris during World War II,  Marshall played with
pianist Art Simmons and saxophonist Don Byas, and he toured and recorded with
James Moody during the late 4O's. Upon honorable discharge, Mr. Allen enrolled
in the Paris Conservatory of Music, studying clarinet with Delacluse. Returning
to the States in 1951, Marshall settled in Chicago, where he led his own bands,
playing in clubs and dance halls while writing his own music and

During the mid -5O's, Marshall met Sun Ra and became a
student of his precepts.  After joining the Sun Ra Arkestra  in 1958,
Marshall Allen led Sun Ra's formidable reed section for over 4O years (a role
akin to the position of Johnny Hodges in the Duke Ellington Orchestra). 
Along with John Gilmore  and later June Tyson and James (Jac) Jacson,
Marshall Allen lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded with Sun Ra almost
exclusively for much of his musical career, leading the reed section during the
time that the Sun Ra Arkestra won the "Downbeat" polls as number-one big band in
1988 and 1989. As a featured soloist with the Arkestra, Marshall pioneered the
avante-garde jazz movement of the early '6O's, expanding a style rooted in
Johnny Hodges and Don Byas, and influencing all of the leading avante-garde
saxophonists thereafter.  During this time, Marshall also invented a
woodwind instrument he called the "morrow," utilizing a saxophone mouthpiece
attached to an open-hole wooden body. (This instrument is currently being
marketed under another name, as Marshall never secured a patent on his

Marshall Allen was one of the first jazz musicians to
play traditional African music and what is now called "world music," working
frequently with Olatunji and his Drums of Passion.  In fact, Marshall is
most likely the sole jazz musician who builds and plays the kora (a popular West
African multi-stringed instrument), and he has been a major factor in its
introduction to American audiences, as well as the world at large. 

Marshall Allen is featured on over 2OO Sun Ra
releases, as well as appearing as special guest soloist in concert and on
recordings with such diverse groups as NRBQ, Phish, Sonic Youth, Diggable
Planets, Terry Adams, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. 

Perhaps most significantly, Marshall Allen assumed the
helm of the Sun Ra Arkestra in 1995 after the ascension of Sun Ra in 1993 and
John Gilmore in 1995.  Mr. Allen continues to reside at the Sun Ra
Residence in Philadelphia, composing, writing and arranging for the Arkestra
much like his mentor, totally committed to a life of discipline centered totally
on the study, research, and further development of Sun Ra's musical
precepts.  Marshall maintains the Sun Ra residence as a living museum
dedicated to the compilation, restoration and preservation of Sun Ra's music,
memorabilia, and artifacts. 

Marshall has launched the Sun Ra Arkestra into a
dimension beyond that of mere "ghost'" band by writing fresh arrangements of Sun
Ra's music, as well as composing new music for the Arkestra.  He works
unceasingly to keep the big-band tradition alive, reworking arrangements of the
music of Fletcher Henderson and Jimmy Lunceford for the Arkestra to play, along
with many other American standards. 

Marshall Allen is recognized all over the world as the
premier avante-garde saxophonist, appearing in solo concert in London in 1995,
duet with Terry Adams in 1997 in Canada, and featured in artlcles in "JazzTimes"
(12/ O2), "Signal to Noise" Magazine, and innumerable other music magazines and
radio and TV interviews.  He is frequently called upon to give master
classes, lectures, and demonstrations of Sun Ra's musical precepts, and he keeps
himself accessible to all who have an interest in Sun Ra's legacy.

Marshall Allen plays the alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe,
kora, and E.V.I.(Electronic Valve Instrument). 

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We are leaving for Chicago soon
(Henry is doing a residency there), and I won't have time to write another
letter and send it in again until we come back home (2nd week of
September).  Anybody know what the deadline is this time around? 

Also, I'd like to point out that someone who knows how to write grants
should try to get Maestro Marshall Allen a Pew grant (won this year by three
Philadelphia electric bassists).  According to the site ( href=""> 
"Pew Fellowships in the Arts (PFA), established by The Pew Charitable Trusts in
1991, annually awards up to 12 fellowships of $6O,OOO to artists of exemplary
talent in the five-county Philadelphia area. The goal of PFA is to assist the
region's most talented artists in furthering and innovating their work by
awarding substantial financial support, accompanied by a set of customized,
focused professional- and career-development resources. Through such support,
PFA aims to elevate the quality and raise the profile of individual artistic
work in the region, create a strong community of Pew Fellows, and help them
achieve their artistic and career goals by connecting them to additional
resources in the region and in the field. The program aims to support artists
who are poised to take full advantage of what the fellowship has to offer to
significantly impact and advance their work. Fellowships may be awarded to
artists at any stage of their career development and to artists working in a
wide range of aesthetics and traditions."

To my memory, John Szwed tried
to get a Pew grant for Marshall Allen some years back but was told that there
was not enough recorded evidence of Marshall Allen as a composer.  There's
quite a bit more now than there was then.  Melissa Franklin, Director, Pew
Arts Fellowships,,

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On Tuesday, August 23,
2011 at 6:47 PM, Knoel Scott wrote:
Re:  Marshall Allen  as a
nominee for  2013  Jazz Masters Lifetime Achiedvement

Give credit where credit is due and the same thing will happen to
you;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;Sun Ra

With this note I am sending the contact
info for the NEA  Jazz Masters Award representative
It is time for
Meastro Marshall Allen to receive this acknowledgement for the great Discipline,
sacrifice and enlightenment he has shared with the world on behalf of the
Creator and Sun Ra;  His steadfast commitment to the healing of humanity
through the idiom of Jazz has spanned four generations.  His expression of
lovingkindness to the people of this planet in particular his tolerance,
tutelage and openness of mind has been the boon of many performing artists as
well as music fans;  In a manner akin to the formidable frank foster,
Marshall has garned Ra sidemen and inculcated new musicians into the
heliocentric worlds of Sun Ra and Intergalactic Music;;;;;;;;;;;;;;the Strange
Mathematical Rhythmic Equations we call JAZZ;  In addition, Masrhall Allen
is likely the FIIRST  Saxophonist to play  so_called Avante garde Jazz
developing this concept in concert with  John Gilmore  under the
guidance of Sun Ra:  resulting in his influence upon and acknowledgement
from every major musician of tthis idiom

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Mashalls mastery of the Electronic
Valve Instrument  (EVI) is unparrelled and uncanny in his reinterpretation
of Sun Ra.s improvisational approach;  His composition and  arranging
contributions to the repertoire of the Sun Ra Arkestra has enabled the Arkestra
to continue to forge ahead in the continuation of Sun Ras Vision and development
of his musical Concepts which are still the marvel of this planet;

I hope
each of you will sent the NEA an email requesting that  Marshall Allen
be  awarded the Jazz Masters Fellowship Lifetime Achievement Award for
his  longstanding Contribution to development of Jazz and his conduct as an
American Ambassador of Jazz music and Culture;
Stark, NEA