On the original 1965 The Magic City LP, issued on Saturn, the monster 27-1/2 minute title track sprawled across side A. Ra customarily supervised the Arkestra's improvisational process via keyboard cues or hand signals. He was always in charge – hence critic Simon Adams describing the title track as "27 minutes of controlled freedom."
"The Magic City" was never performed in concert; saxophonist John Gilmore said it was "unreproducible, a tapestry of sound." Although shorter in scope than side A's magnum opus, the four works on The Magic City's flip side reflect the same improvisational approach, spatiality, and lack of structure. One session outtake, "Other Worlds," an alternate version of "Shadow World," is included as a bonus track on side B.
For this definitive edition, historical and technical liner notes are provided by noted jazz historian Ben Young, who restored and remastered the album with his Triple Point Records partner Joe Lizzi. Both men have been recognized for their extensive work on the Grammy Nominated Albert Ayler boxset, released on John Fahey's Revenant records in 2005.
First-generation Saturn pressings of The Magic City were monophonic. A full stereo version had been issued on Sun Ra's Thoth subsidiary label sometime after 1969; however, it suffered from a technical flaw that prevented many copies of the LP from tracking cleanly through the first cut on side B. A 1973 gatefold LP reissue on Impulse featured reprocessed stereo. For this definitive reissue, Cosmic Myth Records used stereo sources which are superior to the Thoth pressing.