Larry Young
Kozmigroov Albums
Lawrence of Newark [Perception, 1973]
Fuel [Arista, 1975]
Spaceball [Arista, 1976]
Add Your Comments

Lawrence of Newark not only features mystery guest Pharoah Sanders, but no less than 10 percussionists as well! The album is very calm and chaotic at the same time, the sound quality could have been better, but, let's face it, we're talking Perception here... The album consists of five tracks. "Saudia" is a slowly building organ-meditation over a lot of free-floating percussion. "Alive" is a short Miles-sounding modern rendering of the organ-drums duel, also very free-floating, free-jazz in most senses of the term. The last few seconds are quite surprising and amusing as the percussion suddenly starts to play a freak calypso beat. "Hello Your Quietness" is a spacey track that starts calmly but builds momentum. It has more of a rhythmic structure than the previous tracks (although that doesn't say much.) It's a kind of easy-listening-organ on serious acid with a lot of Bitches Brew/Silent Way in the mix. Here Sanders makes his first entry as one of two saxophones (the other one played by Dennis Mourouse). Pharaoh is as always easy to identify. The organ circles around and through the saxophones for a big part of the track. "Sunshine Fly Away" starts of with a lovely bass in the Cecil McBee mould and sounds like a triumphatic pseudo-Arabian hymn. It is as you are secretly and from a distance watching some occult Bedouin religious ritual at midnight in the middle of the desert. Sanders (it must be him!) jumps in after a while and plays in true style with restrained ecstasy on the verge of erupting.  Another interesting feature on this track is a very childish organ figure that comes and goes. "Khalid of Space Part Two" (don't you just love a title like that) sounds very much like Miles a la Bitches Brew. A wall of percussion slowly becomes a steady beat (for the only time on the album) but soon disintegrates. Young plays in his characteristic cataclysmic style. A friend of mine once dubbed it "circus-organ", but that would be a quite sick circus... In sum, the album is a meeting of the darkest moments of Bitches Brew and a mystic orientalism. Young's organ dominates all tracks, but Sanders is also a quite big part of things. At least it gives a hint of what could have happened if he (Sanders) ever had played with Miles 70's groups (sweet thought, isn't it?). [FS]

Spaceball, while not nearly as dense and wild as Young's work from the first coupla years into the 70s, does contain some mighty moments of funky kozmik jazz. The first cut, "Moonwalk" is a sweet hyperkinetic groove of heavy percussion, with moog organ and flute dancing in and out.  "Startripper" is weirdass machine-driven exotica. The title cut is a horny piece of work, which begins with this loopy acapella barking and a lady moanin' in delight, and then bucks into a stanky groove.  There are still some points where the album shifts into pedestrian funk fusion but overall, it's a decent piece of wax. [DW]