DangerousMinds premiered a gorgeous new music video from pioneering Afro-Transcendentalist Laraaji, “This Too Shall Pass,” which comes from the forthcoming new album Sun Piano, the first album of solo piano in his long illustrious career. The video was filmed in the venerable church the album was recorded in as well as in the surrounding neighborhood. It’s a lovely respite from the pressures of the day. His official bio says:
“Laraaji is a musician, mystic and laughter meditation practitioner based in New York City. Steeped in music from an early age, he grew up playing gospel and church music in 1950s New Jersey and listening to R&B and jazz on the radio. To begin with he would imitate his favourite piano players, such as Fats Domino, Errol Garner, Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson, before moving onto writing his own choral and doo-wop pieces whilst still in high school. From 1962 to 1964, he attended the groundbreaking Howard University in Washington DC where he studied music theory and composition with a piano major, and he met Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway and Bobby Timmons. At college he took a left turn into comedy, which led him to the nightclub stand-up circuit in New York City. During this period he compered at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, warming up for artists such as Barry White and Roberta Flack, appeared in a theatre production alongside a young Morgan Freeman, and had a bit part in cult film Putney Swope with Antonio Fargas.
“By the early-70s he was working at the Aquarius Coffee Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and playing Fender Rhodes electric piano in a fusion band, The Winds Of Change. In the mid-70s a spiritual awakening led him to trade his guitar in for an autoharp, and he began to play more freeform, cosmically inclined improvisations on the streets of New York City. Brian Eno saw him playing one night in Washington Square Park and invited him to record an album for his seminal Ambient series (Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance, released 1980).
“In the 80s Laraaji self-released a prolific series of experimental home-recorded cassette albums which were sold on the street, in psychic bookstores and new age ‘head shops’. An early proponent of the DIY tape underground that is still thriving today amongst artists working in noise, synth, drone and other left-of-the-dial genres, this period of Laraaji’s music has been extensively reissued in the past few years by labels such as Leaving Records, Light In The Attic and Numero Group, and is a treasure trove of tape manipulated harp jams and space age soul hymns. ”
Have a look!