Bandleader, composer, arranger, keyboard player, poet, philosopher, and cosmonaut Sun Ra advanced jazz into the space age. Through his elaborate concerts, films, and countless recordings, he fused imagery and mythology related to ancient Egypt as well as science fiction, planting the seeds for what would eventually be referred to as Afrofuturism. Ra's music encompassed nearly every style of jazz, with roots in ragtime and swing to bebop and avant-garde jazz. Initially active as a blues pianist, he worked with swing musicians such as Coleman Hawkins during the 1940s, then established his own trajectory during the '50s, when he founded the ever-changing ensemble known as the Arkestra. Establishing their interstellar mystique, the group sported futuristic costumes during their outlandish performances.