He began playing music on the streets in the 1970s, improvising trance-inducing jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects. Brian Eno saw him playing one night in Washington Square Park and invited him to record an album for his seminal Ambient series (Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance, released 1980). Laraaji went on to release a prolific series of albums for a wide variety of labels, many of which he recorded himself at home and sold as cassettes during his street performances.
In recent years he has had his career celebrated extensively, with reissues of his extensive and wide-ranging back catalogue on labels including Numero Group, Glitterbeat and Leaving Records. Latest album Sun Piano, released on All Saints in summer 2020, sees Laraaji fulfilling a lifelong ambition to return to his first instrument for a suite of spiritual keyboard improvisations recorded in a Brooklyn Church by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs, Mary Lattimore) - a new chapter to the story of a much-loved cult icon.
'Just absolutely destroys me this record...just love it, one of my favourite things he's ever done' - Tom Ravenscroft | BBC 6 Music on Sun Piano
'The bristling performances here most closely resemble the solo piano excursions of such post-bop masters as Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett' — Uncut