Laraaji is an American musician. Born Edward Larry Gordon in 1943 in Philadelphia, he studied violin, piano, trombone and voice in his early years in New Jersey. He attended Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C. on a scholarship to study composition and piano. After studying at Howard, he spent time in New York pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian and actor. In the early seventies he began to study Eastern mysticism and believed he'd found a new path for his music and his life.