Beautifully cleanly recorded, you don't get any of that soupy underwater Internet sound quality which has become the trend in recent years - issuing label Night Dreamer provide some of the clearest, punchiest, sonics of any new indie jazz label certainly up there with what Gearbox can achieve - this latest on the Dutch label zones in on scrabbling intensity in some of its best bits. Sun Ra Arkestra alto saxophonist Knoel Scott shows just what he can do as a leader and brings with him the Arkestra's remarkable leader Marshall Allen for company on Celestial. Scott also plays flute on the album which figures a little too tentatively on title track 'Celestial' perhaps - the flute stuff is the least compelling element of all. But 'Conversation with the Cosmos' is nothing less than fully engrossing and stands head and shoulders above everything else.
Not all full-on out there by any means, Celestial is not a difficult listen, although the direction of travel is often pointing towards a freak-out given half a chance. But the sweet tuneful melody of 'Makanda,' a tribute to Ken ‘Makanda’ McIntyre, is like the quiet cousin to the rest of the tracks and exhibits a certain amount of grace. English pianist Charlie Stacey is an excellent accompanist here, taking his best solo on 'Les Funambules' where there are passages that modern mainstreamers not only avantists certainly can enjoy. Stacey navigates the passionate lines that Scott revels in with skill and taste - do check out Stacey's excellent Music is Healing issued last year. On 'Blu Blues' when bassist Mikele Montolli pads along and the drummer Chris Henderson finds a tramping beat Celestial moves to a more than satisfying close.