Lonnie Liston Smith uses the Rhodes-infused opening track from Pharoah Sanders’ Thembi (a tune which he composed and played on) as the jumping off point for an extraordinary five-album run with Flying Dutchman in the 1970s. He reframes the decidedly Eastern-tinged version found on Pharoah’s album with smokey nightclub vibes and even more syrupy grooves, without compromising any the tune’s transportive qualities. From there he jumps on ye olde grand piano for some sublime ivory tickling (“Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord”) with the Cosmic Echoes crew (Mtume, Cecil McBee and more) fully living up to their name in the background. “Rejuvination” sports some absolutely batshit sax blowing from George Barron (who is he and why isn’t he a household name?). “I Mani (Faith)” is the most Pharoah-esque cut (à la “Greeting To Saud”) with divine textured instrumentation giving way to free jazz freakouts. “In Search Of Truth” is sparse and experimental but funky, “Aspirations” winds ye down with utterly gorgeous, highly-sampleable solo Rhodes (4:20 worth to be precise 😏). Just killer. I missed out on this one for a long time - maybe the artwork is a little too on the nose, or I was just too obsessed with the Roni Size loop on Expansions. Anyway, I'm here now and so are you. Ace reissue by Real Gone Music with full repro gatefold jacket, recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- housed in full color gatefold jacket
- music label: Real Gone Music 2022
reviewed by nick nightingale 08/2019