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Larry Young

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Larry Young Lawrence of Newark album cover
4.02 | 14 ratings | 4 reviews | 36% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Saudia (4:30)
2. Alive (2:00)
3. Hello Your Quietness (Islands) (10:17)
4. Sunshine Fly Away (8:50)
5. Khalid of Space, Part Two (Welcome) (12:41)

Total Time 38:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Larry Young / Hammond organ, bongos, vocals, composer & producer

- James Blood Ulmer / guitar
- Art Gore / drums, electric piano
- Cedric Lawson / electric piano
- Dennis Mourouse / saxophone
- Pharoah Sanders / saxophone, vocals
- Charles Magee / electric trumpet
- Diedre Johnson / cello
- Don Pate / bass
- Juini Booth / bass
- Abdoul Hakim / bongos
- Stacey Edwards / congas
- Umar Abdul Muizz / congas
- Abdul Shahid / drums
- Howard King / drums
- James Flores / drums
- Armen Halburian / congas, bells, percussion
- Jumma Santos / congas, bell, tom tom, tambourine, hihat, whistle
- Poppy La Boy / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Fred Stark

LP Perception Records ‎- PLP 34 (1973, US)
LP Perception Records ‎- PLP 034 (2007, US)

CD Castle Music ‎- CMRCD288 (2001, UK) Remastered by SRT

Thanks to Rocktopus for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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LARRY YOUNG Lawrence of Newark ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LARRY YOUNG Lawrence of Newark reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Even by Larry Young standards this is a strange album, which is to say this is a very very strange album, but also a very good one. There seems to be two different styles present on this album. Half of the songs are in a mystical psychedelic African fusion style, and the other half seem to be Young's unique take on minimalism, with the different instruments in his large ensemble playing repeating riffs in forceful, and sometimes almost chaotic fashion. The unifying factor throughout this album is a very low-fi production and purposefully sloppy mixing that has instruments at strangely mismatched volumes. Always one to chart his own course, Larry seems to be trying to strip any gloss or sheen off his music by not allowing any sort of post production work. On a couple of tunes you can actually hear the tape machine start up mid-jam while the band is already playing.

Trying to describe this music is a bit tough, but let's start with a mix consisting of a low-fi version of Santana's Caravanserai, some of Sun Ra's African grooves, John Cale's rock-minimalism experiments with Terry Riley, Miles' Bitches Brew with it's constantly noodling instruments bubbling up from the background and possibly Keith Emerson's distorted B3 extended psychedelic jams with the Nice. All throughout this album Larry's Hammond B3 is run through a variety of reverbs and distortion devices, and he constantly manipulates the tone bars creating shifting psychedelic sounds that can instantly rush from a shimmering whisper to a full on roar.

This album isn't for everybody, I think the lack of production values would be a big turn off for many, but for me the rough sound is part of this album's appeal. Larry's solos on here are powerful and creative as he proves he ranks high with the very best jazz fusion and progressive rock Hammond B3 artists. His massive ensemble is equally talented as the percussionists play hypnotic poly-rhythms and the saxophonists create counterpoints to Larry's bold melodies.

Review by ExittheLemming
3 stars Son of Ra catches some rays from the deck of the new Ark

For those of you who like your Hammond organ pulped through a blender prior to its fondant strains navigating your ear canals, welcome to heaven. The spirit of Sun Ra permeates this record like a sweet smelling smog, but rest assured Young, in contrast to his mentor, knew it was only astronomers that get paid to stare into space. So no stupefied hippy cosmic world-view here thank you very much. There are moments on Lawrence of Newark when Young appears to unwittingly ape the tacky strains of Joe Meek's Telstar', when his organ is mutated and cajoled into a rather twee psychedelic stylophone on steroids. Together with what sounds like the entire staff of Perception Records plus their immediate families and pets contributing percussion, this album is one heady groove led trip from start to finish. It does sound older than the '1973' indicated on the cover, as the sort of sonic landscape this inhabits would appear to be firmly rooted in the trippy late 60's. There is some jaw-dropping playing from Young and his collaborators here, and you can certainly trace in his phrasing, sounds and note choices the source that would inspire the likes of Rod Argent, Keith Emerson, Dave Greenslade et al to assimilate these ideas into a more accessible form in the prog domain.

Cluster Headaches - don't reach for the medicine cabinet just yet

One of the many hurdles to overcome when listening to this challenging music (apart from it being just really weird sh*t) is Young's frequent use of tonal clusters. Go to a piano and play C - C# and D as a chord. Yuch! it sounds like one of Henry Cowell's farts released from a jam jar after 40 years. It may surprise you that this device has been around as early as Jelly Roll Morton's Tiger Rag and Scott Joplin's Wall Street Rag. (Blimey Guvnor!) Later developments in keyboard jazz by Thelonius Monk, Horace Silver, Cecil Taylor and Dave Brubeck amongst others, would further exploit these dissonances during their improvisations and eventually paved the way for the free-form jazz* that was to follow. (*a.k.a Cowell's Gastric Disorder) On an instrument with a relatively short sustain i.e. the piano, the effect is that of a brief jarring frisson. When transposed to a Hammond Organ however, with controllable sustain and filtered through a multitude of freaky outboard effect gizmos, the experience cannot be dissimilar to being witness at the aural autopsy of a (still breathing) cat.

Guitarist James 'Blood' Ulmer will be a name familiar to many but I confess that his playing has always left me cold, be it on his own solo work Are You Glad to be in America? or that contributed to the 'harmolodics' era output of Ornette Coleman. His ragged and spiky guitar here comes across as mainly textural and the wah-wah saturated effects that much of his playing is buried under, merely serves to date the recording horribly.

There is a distant echo of America by the Nice on the underlying groove that percolates beneath Sunshine Fly Away but the melodic vocabulary over the top is firmly that of an eastern inflected modal bop flavour. This features a beautiful and plaintive strand of saxophone that snakes and slithers its way in and out of the febrile and hypnotic pulsing accompaniment. Abdul Shahid and Howard T King are listed on drumkit on the sleeve, and judging by the welter of percussive salvoes that assail us on just this track alone, it is not inconceivable that both gentlemen may have manned the traps here and elsewhere?

The Khalid of Space Part Two references one Khalid Yasin, the politicised version of Young's own name (as was de rigeur for those African Americans citing 'expanded consciousness' and feckless enough to fall for the racist bile of Louis Farrakhan) . The sorts of reference points I hear during this could include On the Corner by Miles Davis, a smidgen of 'mystical phase' Graham Bond, 'spacey' Krautrock in general, Sun Ra and some of Arthur Brown's excitable hallucinatory moments. If you listen closely to this number you can hear what at first, sounds like the sort of bubbling sequencer effect that the dance fraternity would have us believe they patented. Not so, as it is the cello of Diedre Johnson that produces this wonderful and enervating phenomenon. Pity you can't sue for smugness aforethought.

Organ lovers should be frogmarched in front of a stereo and forced to hear Saudia whereupon they will break down into inconsolable sobbing at just how much of this track has been plagiarised by the prog keyboard giants. (Dave Greenslade in particular must be squirming in his front row seat at the Colosseum, bought with a forged ticket) The playing, texture and compositional heights this little critter reaches are sublime. Nuff said.

No experimental fusion album would be complete without a little 'scooby snack' clocking in at under two minutes and obviously culled from a monster jam that involved sleeping bags and a shift roster. Alive displays a healthy resilience in its truncated form and proves that judicial editing can reap huge dividends. You don't have to eat ALL the jaffa cakes in the box to prove you like them.

Hello Your Quietness - Yet another example during the intro of a manual sequencer (sic) ostinato on this record that steals a march on dance music yet some 20 years hence. Given the brazen eschewal of traditional jazz rhythms that preceded it, this develops rather incongruously into a familiar Latin hued groove. A tad noodley in places yes, but in a genre where Noodle is God, Hello Your Quietness is at the very least agnostic. Lovely breathy sax appears to placate some agitated and neurotic trumpet on this one, with the dialogue being very, very human and heart warming. Thinking man's cacophony.

Lawrence of Newark is not for those of feint heart or head, as it can be both forbidding (in its dissonances and lack of traditional structure) and frustrating (in its liability to disintegrate at any moment and production flaws) but is well worth some of your time if you are of an adventurous spirit and willing to cast aside some of your habitual perceptions of what constitutes 'form'

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First Larry's not-Blue Note album. Fantastic work!

Mixing electric organ passages with African rhythmic and (what is possibly even more important) with African psychedelic mysticism, this album sounds raw and almost religious. In sense of voodoo, not your regular church. Sun Ra spirit and under-the-skin funk both are ingredients of this mix as well. Just five compositions - but what the energy is radiating!

Minimalistic and complex cacophony of sounds build great compositions, full of craziness and their own inside beauty. James Blood Ulmer on guitars and (possibly) Pharoah Sanders on sax add their ritual energy to that mix. Very strange and beautiful in its craziness music. You will like it or will hate it - I am in a former group.

The album was obscure till the beginning of new Millennium , when he was re-released on CD (by Castle and Sanctuary).

Not less than 4+!

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars The album's title along with the cover art makes me smile. Larry Young's real name is Khalid Yasin Abdul Aziz and he had played on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" album and I mention that because this record does remind me of that classic recording. Yes we get Larry's electric organ sounding distorted leading the way instead of trumpet plus this one has more of an African sound with those rhythms but both have so much going on as they trip along. Tons of beats here with drums, percussion, bongos and congas. We get sax and trumpet along with cello, guitar, bass and electric piano. Oh and some crazy vocal expressions at times. This album is nuts, it really is and I love it! Pharoah Sanders was a mystery guest on sax and vocals.

"Saudia" opens with organ and intricate sounds. This is one of the more normal songs I guess you could say. An organ driven track with percussion sounds and bass helping to lead the way. "Alive" is the shortest at 2 minutes and it hits the ground running with all kinds of sounds. So much going on. A real depth to that sound as well. The organ fires off some rounds over and over. Lots of percussion sounds too.

"Hello Your Quietness(Islands)" opens with some experimental sounds including spacey ones. Percussion and horns soon arrive shaking things up. Organ at 1 1/2 minutes arrives with bass in tow. I like the way the organ and trumpet pulse before 3 minutes. What an array of sounds, I'm so impressed as it has this laid back groove to it as well. It starts to pick up some and get more intensity before 7 minutes before settling back very late.

This album really does get better a it plays out. Next up is "Sunshine Fly Away" and it opens with percussion and clashing cymbals but soon bass, drums and fuller sound arrives. Organ after a minute and it will come and go. Horns around 2 1/2 minutes along with lots of percussion sounds. Just tripping along. The organ pulses after 3 1/2 minutes then we get some organ runs. The horns blasting after 5 minutes. Nice. What a track!

The closer is insane and brilliant. "Khalid Of Space Part Two-Welcome" is the title and it's 12 1/2 minutes of joy really. Sounds pulse and beat along with some experimental outbursts. Exotic sounds too as the organ pulses wildly. Some crazy vocal expressions before 3 minutes and there's so much going on here. Love the outbursts of distorted organ. Insanity after 7 minutes and I'm head banging. Go figure? Cello after 8 1/2 minutes. Brilliant! More vocal expressions before 11 minutes. What a closer!

I just have to give 5 stars for Larry's best work, he was really inspired here.

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