Sun Ra: Lanquidity

illustration of Sun Ra image 0
Bill Shoemaker

illustration of Sun Ra

Lanquidity proves that timing is everything. If this surprisingly accessible album had been released in the booming early ’70s market by Impulse! instead of by a fledgling indie when oil crisis-induced inflation was spiking LP prices in ’78, Michel’s prophecies of sales potential may have come true. Instead of jarring cued improvisations, the program is built upon gently floating exotica and hard-boiled grooves. Lanquidity is an album that gives the prattle about the Ra-George Clinton connection some credence; but Ra’s bouncier funk is far less carnal.

It is easy to see why Lanquidity caught on in club circles: the Arkestra’s expanded rhythm section remains deep in the pocket throughout the proceedings. This, in turn, elicits an unusual rhythmic tautness in Ra’s solos, and crisp solos from Gilmore, Marshall Allen (this is one of his best outings on oboe) and trumpeters Eddie Gale and Michael Ray. Lanquidity is a great cosmic dance party platter.