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Samarai Celestial



For over thirty years, Sun Ra's Intergalactic Arkestra stretched the creative boundaries of avant-jazz. Sun Ra claimed to be from Saturn, and said that he "arrived" on earth to spread the Creator's greatest gift: music. While his outrageous statements gained him attention, it was his talent as a musician and bandleader that earned him respect. Ra was an amazingly gifted musician, but he also surrounded himself with a like-minded, similarly gifted group of musicians. Samarai Celestial played drums for the Sun Ra Arkestra steadily from 1979-1985, and again from 1994 until he passed away in at age 43 in 1997, after a four-year battle with heart disease. Celestial credits Ra as one of the greatest musical masters ever, and he dedicated his first solo album, Isis Sun (1995), to the memory of his teacher (Ra passed away in 1992, and the Arkestra continues to tour under the direction of Marshall Allen).

Celestial's music is a far-out cosmic exploration, full of polyrhythms, funky beats, and ear-bending sound experiments. In the liner notes to Isis Sun, Celestial wrote that he was trying to "create something different in music that contained Masterful Elements of the past, present, and future to give my Master thanks for the hours of lessons, dedicated purity, and the development of the omniversal spirit of the arts." The result is a mixture of lightning-fast drumming, free improvisation, and synthesized insanity that both honors Ra's legacy of creative musical expression and highlights Celestial's innovative skill.

"Sun Ra" (Edited version) and "Nation Time" are from Isis Sun. The other four songs are from Cosmic Gold Millennium, a double CD that was released shortly before Celestial's death in 1997. "New Formalation" [sic] and "Celestial Enlightenment" are from disc one, Creation's Call. "Cosmic Gold Millennium," "Cosmo 4x4," and "Angel Speech" are from disc two, Intergalactic Compository of Funk.