Laraaji's latest release is a work of playful imaginativeness.
Recorded on a grand piano in a church in Brooklyn, Laraaji's Sun Piano is a magnificent addition to the cosmic-ambient musician's expansive catalogue, which has spanned across genres and—in all likelihood, multiple dimensions.
Laraaji's musical story begins at the piano, which is perhaps why Sun Piano feels like coming home. Now a musician, mystic, and laughter meditation practitioner, Laraaji grew up in New Jersey in the 1950s. He first encountered the piano in childhood afternoons at church, and he filled spaces between Sunday school and church services imitating great piano players like Fats Domino. After picking up a wide variety of instruments, he attended Howard University, where he studied music theory and composition with a piano major.
"The piano is my first major instrument," said Laraaji in an interview with Popdust. "My relationship was one as kinesthetic… As a percussion instrument, I would play [the piano] rhythmically, but mostly taking it as an instrument of therapy, for release, celebration, and expression."