2020 CD reissue.
This album with the strange psychedelic sci-fi cover draws a tighter circle around Duke's fusion language. The keyboard master ventures deep into his synthesizer laboratory. Their textures become a more essential component of his pieces, attaining orchestral dimensions, as evidenced in the opener, Funny Funk, with it's smacking, squishing tongue-in-cheek dialogue between the synths. A virtuoso layering of the keyboards is also central to Cora Joberge, and on Rashid, Duke's electronic orchestra explodes over the stormy drums of Leon "Ndugu" Chancler. Duke shows himself to be a singer with a soulful sound.
Shortly before this recording he had shelved his trombone so that he could communicate more directly with the audience, as can be heard in the hymnal, dreamlike title piece. The guest list of players make for an especially exciting concoction. No less than Duke's playing companion Frank Zappa, under the cryptic pseudonym Obdewl'l X, performs some adventuresome guitar passages on Love and Old Slippers. On the California-sunshine pop samba, Yana Aminah, we have a surprise visit by Brazilian Flora Purim, wife of percussionist Airto Moreira, who opens up his bag of tricks on The Once Over, and plays on three more tracks.
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