Bright, uplifting and simple piano improvisations.
Laraaji is best known for making spiritual and mystical ambient pieces and worked with Brian Eno back in the late 1970s. After many years focusing on various careers, Laraaji has returned to a prolific surge recently and his latest release ‘Sun Piano’ comes at a relevant time.
‘Sun Piano’ is a jazz and blues filled piano improvisation selection. The best way I can describe it is if the soundtrack to Frasier was reinterpreted by a church. Across the twelve tracks and 40 minutes, Laraaji leaps and bounds with poise and prowess up and down the keys. The piano was his first instrument and it is clear that pure joy flows through his hands as he plays. The improvisations are largely simple ditties that are made to sound bombastic with clever embellishments and a lot of loud pedal. There is a devotional tint to the entire album but its more of a crossover between blues and uplifting. To have so much energy and sprightliness in their playing in their 70s, it also has a bit of inspirational tilt to it too.
There is one interesting thing that kept popping into my head throughout the entire album. I kept thinking ‘Sun Piano’ sounded similar in tone, brightness and bombasticness as Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection. This may be a completely random reference but if you enjoy blues with added jazzy hands – you’ll enjoy both of these releases. That being said, I did find that many of tracks felt a little too jazz bar for my personal taste.
Whilst ‘Sun Piano’ may not necessarily have hit the spot for me, as an avid fan of music, I can still appreciate that this is an excellent pianist, having a wonderful time connecting with their first love. The piano sings with Laraaji’s touch and so fans of jazz, blues, devotional piano or a mixup of the three will enjoy this. Add a point to the score if you do, subtract one if you don’t.
Recommended track: Hold On To The Vision
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