February 14, 2017

Sun Ra - Lanquidity (1978)


Lanquidity is one of the three most well-known Sun Ra albums along with Space Is The Place and Sleeping Beauty. I also think that it is the easiest to get into. I can't think of another album, in any genre, where dissonance comes off this smooth. There are points when the compositions reach far out, but the meat of the album is built on groove and oddly melodic solos. The music is distinctly Sun Ra--I mean, how can it not be, but he melts a wide range of styles into this LP. Where The Pathways Meet is on some experimental big band tip comparable to Charles Mingus. The following track, That's How I Feel, is constructed around a vibe set by Sun Ra's Fender Rhodes playing which is obviously inspired by the likes of Lonnie Liston Smith and Herbie Hancock. Only the most transcendental musicians can execute the styles of other influential aritsts (at the same level or arguably better, in this case) and rewrite the styles into their own signature. Lanquidity is soothing, but it is not a dreamy snoozefest either. Don't get me wrong, this album can put you to sleep if you so desire, but the wide grooves and strange intersecting solos and chord backdrops from Sun Ra are are too invigorating for one to completely loose their grasp on the music. I've also got to give a shoutout to John Gilmore, Sun Ra's staple tenor saxophonist, for some of the most perfect solos ever put on wax, simply out of this world.