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Music

Sun Ra House in Philadelphia has been designated a 'historic landmark'

@SamWKemp

Sun Ra House, the three-story Philadelphia building that served as the headquarters for Sun Ra’s constantly evolving Arkestra outfit, has been listed as a historic landmark.

Sun Ra House, located on 5626 Morton Street, is also known as the Arkestral Institute of Sun Ra and apparently still houses several members of the group, including current bandleader Marshall Allen.

Allen first moved into Sun Ra House in 1968 and was charged with leading the Arkestra jazz collective following the death of its founder in 1993.

Back in 2021, Allen revealed that the building had partially collapsed, and on May 13th the Philadelphia Historical Commission unanimously voted to grant the property protected status.

The Historical Commission will ensure that any adjustments to the building adhere to historic presentation standards, and will advise on the restoration and maintenance of the property.

The designation was made possible by the Robert Bielecki Foundation, a philanthropist organisation devoted to artists. After Sun Ra’s death in ’93, his Arkestra continued to tour and record until the turn of the millennium.

Then in 2020, the outfit regrouped for Swirling, its first album in over 20 years. After contributing to the Grammy Award-nominated LP, longtime baritone sax player and manager, Danny Ray Thompson, died in 2020 at the age of 72, with bassist Juini Booth passing away the following year.