The Magic City – Meshell Ndegeocello

2024
Tracklist

OVERVIEW

Red Hot + Ra: The Magic City is a profound musical journey curated by Grammy Award-winning bassist-composer-producer Meshell Ndegeocello.

In today’s music scene, heavily influenced by the innovative ideas of Sun Ra—a self-taught pianist, composer, and thinker hailing from Birmingham, AL, or perhaps Saturn, in his cosmic imagination—Red Hot presents a fresh perspective on Ra’s concepts in a contemporary setting. Red Hot + Ra: Magic City is an intimate musical dialogue crafted by Grammy Award-winning musician Meshell Ndegeocello, delving into Sun Ra’s repertoire. These aren’t just covers; they’re entirely new compositions, drawing on Ra’s essence while infusing original music and sounds. Ndegeocello collaborates with a diverse array of talented musicians, including the legendary 99-year-old Marshall Allen of Ra’s Arkestra, hip-hop/jazz artist Pink Siifu, saxophonists Immanuel Wilkins and Darius Jones, vocalist-composer Justin Hicks, and many others.

Produced by Ndegeocello and Hector Castillo, Red Hot + Ra: Magic City blends various elements—voices, synths, horns—into a cohesive sonic landscape. The album reimagines familiar Ra motifs, adding fresh layers and personal interpretations, free from the clichés often associated with his mystique. Tracks like “#9 Venus The Living Myth” and “Yet Differently Not – Mars Hall (in)” offer novel arrangements, infused with feminine energy and Ndegeocello’s vision.

Original compositions by Justin Hicks, such as “Bedlam Blues” and “Reproductive Manatees – Sunny Said Up!,” incorporate Ra’s teachings, reflecting his perspective on navigating a chaotic world. Ndegeocello’s journey into Ra’s philosophy, sparked by John Szwed’s biography “Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra,” led her to reevaluate her approach to music, seeking a deeper connection and exploration of new dimensions.

For Ndegeocello, Red Hot + Ra: Magic City is about honoring Sun Ra’s legacy while embracing the present moment. It’s a call to self-reflection and empowerment in a tumultuous world. Ultimately, the album invites listeners to recognize the power of their own choices and the importance of shaping their lives according to their own aspirations.

Join the celebration of Sun Ra’s music with Red Hot + Ra: Magic City, a transformative musical experience that invites listeners to design their own path in the cosmic realm of sound.

 

SUN RA

Sun Ra was a musical visionary who explored the outer limits of jazz and fused it with elements of Afrofuturism and science fiction. Over the course of his career, he assembled a collective of musicians known as the Arkestra and created a unique sound that blended big band swing with free improvisation, electronic instruments, and Eastern and African musical traditions

Sun Ra’s music was not just a product of his time, but a precursor to future developments in jazz, fusion, and electronic music. His work was a celebration of blackness, an embrace of the cosmic, and a challenge to the limits of human imagination. Even decades after his death, his influence on music and culture remains profound.

CREDITS

Created by Meshell Ndegeocello
Produced by Meshell Ndegeocello & Hector Castillo
Executive Producer – John Carlin
Series Producers – John Carlin, Elia Einhorn, Jonathan Galkin
Co-Executive Producer – Alison Riley
Mastered by Joe Lambert

Artwork – Cécile McLorin Salvant
Layout and Design – Chris Capuozzo, Char Esme
Sleeve illustrations and typography – Char Esme

TRACKLIST

1. Solipsistic Panacea (Black Antiques)
Deantoni Parks – Drums & Electronics
Christopher Bruce – Guitar
Daniel Mintseris – Keyboards
Immanuel Wilkins – Alto Saxophone
Meshell Ndegeocello – Bass, Vocal, Keyboards
Justin Hicks – Vocals
Kenita Miller – Vocals
Darius Jones – Vocals
Hector Castillo – Soundscapes

2. Departure Guide of the 7 Sisters
Deantoni Parks – Drums & Electronics
Christopher Bruce – Guitar
Meshell Ndegeocello – Keyboards
Jade Hicks – Vocals

3. Bedlam Blues
Christopher Bruce – Guitar
Daniel Mintseris – Keyboards – Piano
Immanuel Wilkins – Alto Saxophone
Marshall Allen – EWI
Stuart Bogie – Clarinet
Justin Hicks – Vocals, Moog Bass
Nio Levon – Vocals

4. #9 Venus The Living Myth
Kojo Roney – Drums
Rashaan Carter – Upright Bass
Immanuel Wilkins – Alto Saxophone
Marshall Allen – Alto Saxophone, EWI
Meshell Ndegeocello – Vocal, Keyboards
Justin Hicks – Vocals
Kenita Miller – Vocals
Nio Levon – Vocals
Hanna Benn – Vocals
Dan Bunny – Spoken Word

5. El-soul The Companion, Traveler
Christopher Bruce – Guitar
Darius Jones – Saxophone
Stuart Bogie – Bass Clarinet, Flute
yuniya edi kwon – Violin
Marshall Allen – EWI
Pink Siifu – Vocals

6. LQ1TY – 29 Years
Deantoni Parks – Drums & Electronics
Christopher Bruce – Guitar
Daniel Mintseris – Keyboards
Stuart Bogie – Bass Clarinet, Clarinet
Darius Jones – Saxophone
Nio Levon – Vocals

7. Yet Differently Not – Mars Hall (in)
Kojo Roney – Drums
Rashaan Carter – Upright Bass
Immanuel Wilkins – Alto Saxophone
Meshell Ndegeocello – Vocal, Keyboards
Jebin Bruni – Keyboards
Jake Shermanw – Harmonica
Hanna Benn – Vocals
Pink Siifu – Vocals

8. Reproductive Manatees – Sunny Said Up!
Deantoni Parks – Drums & Electronics
Christopher Bruce – Guitar
Meshell Ndegeocello – Bass, Keyboards
Daniel Mintseris – Keyboards, Piano
Justin Hicks – Vocals
Darius Jones – Saxophone
Hector Castillo – Soundscapes

9. The World Of Shadow
Kojo Roney – Drums
Rashaan Carter – Upright Bass
Immanuel Wilkins – Alto Saxophone
Jebin Bruni – Keyboards

Special Thanks

Board Of Advisors : Beco Dranoff, David Grandison, Upendo Kissai, Dustin Reid, Earle Sebastian, Adrian Shankar Filho, Prof. Kendall Thomas