In this memoir, Harlem-born trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah recounts decades of national and international touring with the Sun Ra
Arkestra and charts the rise of New York loft jazz scene, offering a fascinating portrait of advanced music in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan from the 1970s through the 1990s.
A Strange Celestial Road, written with Louis Reyes Rivera, includes thrilling stories about the politically important Bed-Stuy venue The East and his tutelage under composer and long-time Archie Shepp collaborator Cal Massey. Along the way it also covers Ahmed Abdullah's spiritual development, battles with addiction, tribulations as a father, and working life as a New York City taxi driver.
The book includes 20 pages worth of photographs, featuring rare and unseen images from notable photographers, of Sun Ra's Arkestra performing around the world, from The East to Istanbul, Tokyo to Lagos for FESTAC '77.
Ahmed Abdullah (Leroy Bland, born 1947 in Harlem, New York) is a jazz trumpet player. He played with musicians such as Ed Blackwell, Sam Rivers, Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman, Marion Brown, Charles Brackeen, Machali Favors, Billy Bang, etc., and with
the Sun Ra
Arkestra between 1975 and 1997. Ahmed Abdullah is a public school music teacher, lecturer at the New School, and the music director at Sistas' Place, a venerable club and social center at the heart of efforts to preserve African American jazz history in Central Brooklyn.
Louis Reyes Rivera (1945-2012) was an editor, union organizer, professor, and a founder of Nuyorican poetry movement.