Follow up on Samurai Celestial's gig in T-Town

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#1 Sun, 1994-10-16 14:58
J Johnson
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Follow up on Samurai Celestial's gig in T-Town

Well, I did indeed have a chance to catch Samurai Celestial, one of the Arkestra's drummers, during his solo gig here at the Kentuck Festival in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The crowd was primed more for country and bluegrass bands, so when Samurai came on stage wearing spacey attire and explained that his show was dedicated to Sun Ra, many of the locals sat and stared. (I had my Mike Wilderman Sun Ra shirt on, to show my support.) Samurai played a synth and had a small bank of drum machines placed to his left. He played two tunes, which both featured Ra-like doodlings on synth and Samurai's views on positive/negative vibrations, space, and the opening of the human mind to music and harmony. They were very good tunes. After the show, I had an opportunity to have along chat with Samurai. I had a lot of questions and he had some answers. He did mention that the Arkestra was planning on some gigs in the very near future. He said things had been tough over the last few months with John's ill health and all of the inherent difficulties in getting gigs without Sun Ra. The band has been talking to several labels about releasing some new stuff. No one in the U.S. will take them up on it, so they are looking in Europe and Japan for a company who is interested.He did say that things have been very discouraging and disorganized, with many people claiming to be in charge. I also showed him a copy of rlc's new book, which he did not know had been released. He thought it was great and laughed at the memories it brought back. We also talked about the Satellites of the Sun idea, the Grateful Dead and Pharoah Sanders rumors and much more, too much to mention here. I will mention a few things: he did say that John and Marshall do need some dental help; the Down Beat article on the Arkestra was inaccurate, as the Arkestra never had a problem with Ra's sister getting the money- they like her a lot- it was a nephew who got all the cash that they were not in favor of. Samurai has been recording lots of new material, stuff I think a lot of Ra fans would really enjoy. He is hoping to find a label to release his stuff, so if any of you on here know of or work at a company that would be interested, let me know and I can put you in touch with him. He was proud of a recent award that he had received from his hometown of Savannah, GA.- he got a key to the city and a certificate from the mayor. On a final note, Samurai says hi to everyone on SATURN and wishes you the best. It made him very happy to know that there were folks so interested in the music he and the other members of the Arkestra made with Sun Ra.

JJ

Jim Johnson/jjohnson@alston.cba.ua.edu