king ubu

***** Yusef Lateef Corner *****

82 posts in this topic

Yusef-Lateef.jpg

There are plenty of threads about Yusef Lateef, but no longer, corner-like one, so far, so I figured I'd start one.

Thread about (and with link to) an article written by Assif Tsahar on Brother Yusef

Yusef's funk-thread

Two threads on Psychicemotus

I first heard Lateef on an LP called "This Is Y.L.", which I think was a Riverside reissue of another album (Three Faces?). Next was Cannonball Adderley's sextet - what a wonderful band! "Nippon Soul" and the only recently reissued "In Europe!" feature some terrific playing by Lateef!

Then the first "Live at Pep's" disc was probably among the first 50 CDs I bought.

In the late fifties, this man did so many great albums - think about all the Savoys (Jazz Moods, Jazz for Thinkers), the Prestige and Riversides, plus the lone great Verve album.

So Lateef, the man who looks like a prophet, has been around for more than six decades now, as a performing musician. He played with Lucky Millinder, then in Dizzy's bebop big band, went on to produce great albums of his own in the fifties and sixties, founded his own YAL label when times for jazz weren't that great, explored other musical territories, met tenorists Ricky Ford, Archie Shepp and Von Freeman for a series of Tenors albums... of course he did many more things... played terrific tenor sax, great flute, introduced a number of unusual ethnical instruments to jazz (arghol), and other funny instruments (balloons and 7-up bottles and the like), played with Mingus, considered Coltrane a friend...

This man has simply been around forever.

Last year two guys made a film about Lateef, which is quite beautiful and shows the scope of thought and music he embraces. Also the film shows what a unique person this man is. Very touching, at moments it almost moved me to tears.

So let's discuss Lateef her, share stories, impressions, discuss favourite recordings etc!

(and wait for the second post of mine to see what made me start this thread in the first place!)

[edit: added a new photo after the initial one has disappeared...]

Edited by king ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last week Lateef played in Tel-Aviv together with the French players- Stephan and Lionel Belmondo. Lateef is 86 but he is in a very good shape and still sounds great. This was the first time for to see Lateef and of course it was a memorable experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend Barak Weiss (White Lightening) had the opportunity to interview Lateef and I'll ask him to reply to this thread and to add the link to the interview.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last week Lateef played in Tel-Aviv together with the French players- Stephan and Lionel Belmondo. Lateef is 86 but he is in a very good shape and still sounds great. This was the first time for to see Lateef and of course it was a memorable experience.

Their fantastic new album, "Influence," was what my second post was to be about, but I made some mistake and lost all what I had written...

Here's the cover:

3700077630540.jpg

And here are the liners:

Belmondo/Yusef Lateef: «Influence»

Jazz is a music of chance encounters, of artists who discover common ancestry, kinship and progeny - ties that proudly bridge the generation gap. Occasionally, a «twinship» becomes self-evident, when two musicians are brought together in a specific formation. As soon as they begin to play together, it feels like they have always known each other. The brotherhood of jazz is truly unique. People travel down this musical road side by side, on journeys which converge and lead to genuine emancipation. Through music, the human spirit is pared down, divided up and redistributed according to an entirely new genealogy. After a week spent in Paris, Yusef Lateef called the Belmondo brothers that he played alongside, «Brother Lionel» and «Brother Stéphane». This was no reference to hypothetical blood ties that could have linked the three men. Having spent a few days with the French siblings, the older man with the appearance of a prophet, was able to measure the sincerity and respect that his hosts had displayed by welcoming him. Moreover, he realised that music, for them, is anything but a question of opportunism . Lateef’s use of the word brother is of crucial importance here, as he is a man who has witnessed several eras of jazz, has been a close companion to some of the greatest creators of Afro-American music and left his own mark on this musical genre. Yusef Lateef wanted to express his respect and understanding, and even his love for these musicians even though they seem to come from entirely different worlds, and despite the language barrier. Those of you who have followed the Belmondo brothers’ career, already know that they are united by a genuine community spirit. You will therefore understand why this proof of acceptance, this token of esteem, will have touched the depth of their souls.

This collaboration with Yusef Lateef, which was suggested by Ronan Palud, is basically a matter of influence which reaches far beyond mere stylistic affiliation. When they were teenagers, and had just discovered the universe of jazz, the brothers would play the same LPs again and again. «Jazz Mood», one of Yusef Lateef’s first recordings, regularly figured at the top of the pile of records they would listen to incessantly. The album, recorded for Savoy in 1957, had no real equivalent among the recording industry output of that era. It contained more than enough thought provoking elements to probe the young boys’ imagination. The brothers were intrigued by the unusual structure of the themes present on this recording. Their modal qualities had an irresistible pull. The originality of the rhythmical patterns provided new insight. Yusef Lateef’s tenor saxophone was evocative of Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Lester Young but he could also make his instrument roar like no other. The compositions opened the boys up to new horizons which were far removed from the be-bop tradition or the use of jazz standards. «Exotic» instruments such as the argol and the rebab opened up dreamy soundscapes to the listeners (Yusef Lateef was the fist to use these Oriental instruments on a jazz record, aeons before anyone spoke of an embryonic world music scene). The «swing» of the tandem that the saxophonist formed with Curtis Fuller moved the Belmondo brothers, and this record, which was deeply anchored in the blues tradition, spoke directly to them. This music contained enough ingredients to fire up a fascination which extended beyond the artist’s mysterious sounding name. Lionel’s style on the tenor saxophone (and flute), is still under Lateef’s influence, even if Coltrane, Pharoah, Dexter and Shorter have also made their mark. Yusef Lateef’s own compositions seem to be mirrored by the separate themes which form a suite on the Belmondo brothers’ «Infinity» album, recorded with their quintet in 1999. As for Stéphane, he is sometimes visited by the fleeting shadow, the inspired breath, of Wilbur Harden, Yusef Lateef’s elusive but legendary companion from the 50s. When Lionel and Stéphane finally got to meet their «elder sibling» they naturally referred to all of these subjects, but through music rather than speech. This is the real hidden meaning of Suite over time, a series of four pieces of music by Yusef Lateef, which were selected by Lionel and rearranged in the spirit of the original recordings. The instrumental arrangements provide a backdrop for the work of the original author, and pay their respects to his beneficial influence.

However, beyond personal tribute, this musical union is also a symbol of all the common values that the musicians involved fiercely maintain. The word influence, which figures in the record’s title, hints at a circulation of ideas that does not stop at artistic borders. This movement goes way beyond the categories that people try to define - beyond this game of mirrors and chance events that change people and influence their creations. With astounding strength and virtuosity, «Hymne au soleil», the Belmondo brothers’ last recording, revealed unlikely links between post-Impressionist French music and modern jazz. It also revealed just how talented the authors of this recording were. The Belmondos’ new album is a logical continuation of their work, but at times, it also confounds the listener. Using a juxtaposition of works which were originally clearly distinct, it defies classification without being too eclectic. A great many musical barriers are broken down; several inspired soloists working with elaborate compositions are given enough space to make themselves heard, writing and improvisation are expertly inter-twined and an American is invited to play on this record which has such a typically French orientation. Yusef Lateef’s participation in this adventure is therefore emblematic of this musician’s openness unto the world, of eyes (and ears) willing to take in other traditions. Be they highbrow or secular, these traditions have fuelled the history of his music, yet he has never turned his back on his own origins or culture. There are very few musicians who have embraced so many musical movements with a constant thirst for knowledge as Yusef Lateef. Few have proved to be so open to exchange and discovery. It is surely the preserve of great minds to be able to explore what is essentially unfamiliar in order to find their true self, to always seek out something that is wholly alien to them - Oriental music, scales from the Indian classical tradition, double reed instruments or reed flutes (made by the artist himself). This yen for knowledge has also led him to the exploration of philosophy and religion, as well as other art forms such as literature or visual art. Yusef Lateef has also been blessed with the desire to keep on going forward and further, not to stop when History reclaims everything it owns, to go so far as to slow down the passing of time. Yusef Lateef’s career, as well as his work, has been complex, paradoxical, protean, little known yet truly exceptional. It has closely followed the evolution of jazz without ever being hemmed in by it, and has been nourished by various sources. It has involved rare combinations of instruments and influences, and brought together different people beyond the constraints of categories. Most of the records Yusef Lateef put out on the Atlantic label at the end of the 60s illustrate this approach. These are «concept» albums that describe his attachment to the town he started off in («Yusef Lateef’s Detroit», 1969) as well as his musical roots («The Blue Yusef Lateef», 1969). These recordings also bear witness to a taste for experimenting with form and combine various influences. Sensitivity mingles with spirituality; music is seen as a language with which to describe the world and tell it to others. Like Charles Mingus, whose Workshop he played in, in 1960, or Miles Davis that he got to know during the six months Miles spent in Detroit in 1953, Yusef Lateef is one of these musicians who has always been against the use of the word jazz to describe his work. This is not because of conceit, but because this word does not cover the entire diversity of experience that is inherent to his work.

Lionel Belmondo had no choice but to empathise with this elder statesman of music from the other side of the Atlantic. Yusef Lateef’s personality has many different facets yet his strength of character remains intact. He distanced himself from the jazz scene so as not to side with the world of show business and its endless compromises. He has devoted his time to teaching with a real love of transmission and has always been interested in the African roots of jazz; his research on this subject has involved creating collections of different scales. He has played with Babatunde Olatunji, the Nigerian percussionist, in 1960, as well as the Afro-Drum Ensemble formed around the central figure of Art Blakey in 1962. He persevered in the face of public indifference and ill fortune in order to carry out the most ambitious of projects when he was just another «jazzman» in the eyes of many people. He created his YAL label to spread the word about his music when no-one wanted to publish it. Last but not least, he’s a man who has always united the musicians he played with around a common musical cause, especially in Detroit. Certain musicians admire him to such an extent that they refer to him as a mentor. Yusef Lateef and the Belmondo brothers see eye to eye on a lot of things, and it would be wrong to refer to this as a mere series of coincidences. They basically reveal that these musicians experience a true passion for music, and play with faith and conviction. Yusef Lateef perceived this common quality, and in spite of his age, never failed to do the best he could and to be involved in this project as if it was his own. Naturally, he was moved by the attention and admiration of the Belmondo brothers, but was particularly won over by the score Lionel had meticulously prepared, in collaboration with his friend Christophe Dal Sasso, in anticipation of meeting him.

One of the great achievements of this record is that it is evidently the next step after the Belmondo’s «Hymne au soleil» but that it also manages to be a logical extension of Yusef Lateef’s own work. In France, not a lot of people know that Lateef’s work contains a richness stemming from many types of composition - from sonatas to symphonies. Two of Yusef Lateef’s pieces, are featured on this recording and were composed specifically for this project - Le Jardin and An afternoon in Chattanooga. Yusef Lateef has always been interested in instruments commonly found in the ranks of a symphony orchestra - flutes, oboes and bassoons. He was also one of the first to acclimatise these to the world of jazz and it could even be said that the whole of his work is interspersed with references to Western classical music. Especially telling is his work with Charles Mills (1914 - 1982), a student of Aaron Copland and Roger Sessions, and author of six symphonies and liturgical works. In 1960, Yusef Lateef recorded Mills’ Summer song, and more notably, the eponymous track on The Centaur and the Phoenix, is performed by Yusef Lateef. This piece is dedicated to Lateef, and was inspired by Crazy Horse and Charlie Parker - two martyrs and heroes of America. Some people may also know that Lateef was part of the jazz collective which adapted Erik Satie’s first Gymnopédie (on «Psychicemotus» which appeared on Impulse in 1966 and featured a group which included George Arvanitas, the pianist from Marseilles with whom the Belmondo brothers played incessantly in Paris jazz clubs when they had just arrived in that city !). Yusef Lateef himself clearly remembers that whilst he was playing with the Adderley brothers sextet, he would play a piece that Donald Byrd, the trumpeter, had composed upon his return from Paris. This composition was inspired by the lessons he took with Nadia Boulanger, Lili’s sister. However, even beyond these direct references, Yusef Lateef’s musical knowledge is the fruit of five years of study at Detroit’s Wayne State University where, between 1950 and 1955, he studied flute and composition. He subsequently attended classes at the Manhattan School of Music in 1960 and studied at many more places of learning besides, including the University of Massachusetts and Amhurst College. This scholarly insight has nourished his entire body of work, and manifests itself even when Lateef plays with small-scale jazz combos. It expresses itself through a deep thought process which governs the styles Lateef uses for his compositions, and also through the inclusion of many elements burrowed from classical tradition that he mixes with more intrinsically Afro-American means of expression as well as other elements which are more ancestral, more deeply rooted.

The music on this record is situated at a crossroads between different traditions; it would be pointless to try and pry them apart. If so much strength is initially apparent to the listener, if authenticity is there for all to hear, it’s because it contains so many different influences which have been entirely assimilated and full responsibility has been acknowledged for this. These influences are not mere excuses for vain stylistic flourishes. This music burrows from some, all the better to give to others. Its substance is derived from a myriad of sounds which have been integrated and are reproduced here under a different guise. Like Yusef Lateef, all these sounds represent a historical era which builds on its prior experiences with a healthy disregard for nostalgia.

Shaafa was composed by Lionel Belmondo and was conceived as the opening piece to welcome Yusef Lateef. He begins with a solo on the alto flute. This composition was motivated by Lionel Belmondo’s growing interest in the French school of organ music (from César Frank to Gaston Litaize without forgetting Charles Tournemire, Marcel Dupré or Maurice Duruflé). It has no clear melodic line but instead, a moving mosaic of sound is fashioned, and the parts played by each instrument merge like notes produced by the different pipes of an organ. This flourishing bouquet of timbre which has such fascinating shimmers gives way to improvisation - in a style similar to the one organists have used for so long. The music unfolds according to one of those special rhythmical patterns that Yusef Lateef was instrumental in popularising amongst jazz musicians. He has a way of placing his notes behind the beat that is characteristic, and builds up a chorus that he explores progressively, all the better to make use the full range of his instrument albeit in a leisurely manner. The music progressively takes on the form of a magnificent and enigmatic chant. Laurent Fickelson, on the piano, has a scientific precision that has often been overlooked. Stéphane Belmondo, on the bugle, makes a transition from calm to storm as Dré Pallemaerts’ drum kit becomes more and more tempestuous. These last two musicians also deliver wonderfully elaborate solos. The orchestral motifs in the background herald a return to a windy mood that echoes the start of this piece, and acts as a transition towards a conclusion which, with its suspended bass note, depicts cloudy, twilight shades where diaphanous notes rival for attention amidst the darkness.

Si tout ceci n’est qu’un pauvre rêve (If all this is but a poor Dream) is originally taken from «Clairières dans le ciel» ( Glades in the sky), a cycle of thirteen melodies for the tenor saxophone and piano composed for poems by Francis Jammes in 1914, by Lili Boulanger (1893 - 1918), during her stay in Rome. Often thought of as her most important profane work, this cycle closely mirrors the deep emotions and agitation of its composer, something which was very much celebrated by Lionel Belmondo in «Hymne au Soleil». This is a work full of torment, about anxiety welling up in the mind of a person who knows that they do not have long to live. The poem ends with the words «Je ne sais si je guérirais, ô mon amie...» (Oh, my friend, I do not know if I will be cured). Lionel Belmondo’s arrangement respects the strange, nebulous climate of this composition, which oscillates between darkness and light. Lili Boulanger’s entire work is penetrated by this quality, but Lionel’s work also conjures up hues similar to those used by Billy Strayhorn. The distinct, underlying chord progression, reveals amazing similarities with a blues in D minor. Using these harmonies, as well as a «low down» tempo, Yusef Lateef is able to let loose with a long solo enthused with vocal qualities; this solo is strengthened by an inimitable tenor sax tone, which is as raucous as the song of a primitive bluesman and contains the grumbling impulse of the old «shouters». It has a singing/talking style with abrupt and rocky inflections that come straight from the soul. At this climactic point, Laurent Fickelson intercedes by playing in a supremely subtle «Monkian» vein. The second exposition of the theme, which is rich in details in the medium range and refreshingly original in the deeper range, brings us to a coda of feverish intensity which Yusef Lateef rounds off with a series of enigmatic notes.

The third track, Après le jeu (After the Game), is inspired by a short melody by Charles Tournemire (1870 - 1939), from Postludes - a collection of interludes for the church organ to be played during religious services. Christophe Dal Sasso composed this luminous and laid-back work, which contains a remarkable, a cappella polyphonic introduction. Yusef Lateef is also an accomplished flautist, and on this composition, he delivers a magical solo in ballad time which finds its natural place like a concerto solo. His counterpart, Philippe Gauthier, also contributes to the success of this piece with its airy textures. He uses counterpoint techniques admirably, and develops his playing without placing too heavy a burden on the flute. The piece finishes with the presentation of Tournemire’s melody, played on the French Horn, and this instrument is surrounded by the embrace of the bassoon and the clarinet.

Influence begins with a drum roll which is progressively combined with various «ethnic» flutes that Yusef Lateef and Lionel Belmondo brought back from their journeys around the world. These sounds mingle with Stephane’s conches. They create a dreamy atmosphere which serves as an overture to Christophe Del Sasso’s composition. This piece also lends its title to the recording. The work unfolds from the bubbling abyss of the bass notes, in an ascending sweep, following a modal motif made up of four notes which goes on to underlie the entire piece. Yusef Lateef spontaneously emits a number of strange shrieks (obtained by placing an oboe reed in the cylinder of his «moan» flute). He then exposes the melody on the flute, which is suspended above Paul Imm’s bass line. This reinforces the African quality of the whole composition. A game of canons and layering is developed based on the first bar of the theme and we are progressively immersed in to the torpor of the low notes as the opening sounds resound once again. This leads us seamlessly to Yusef Lateef’s flute solo, as, in Dal Sasso’s composition, the orchestra has the same value as the soloist. After the solo, the theme reappears, enriched by a second melodic line with extended rhythmical tones. This brings us to Stéphane Belmondo’s solo, who, with the inventiveness that is his trademark, finds his bearings amongst the flurries of the wind instruments that bubble up in the background. In the last part of this piece, the theme returns in crystal clear counterpoint, and the piece finishes in an atmosphere of contemplation with the sparse and profound voice of Yusef Lateef’s flute.

On Orgatique Charles Tournemire’s work is liberally paraphrased. The title is a contraction of the words Orgue (organ) and Mystique, and is a reference to Tournemire’s best known work, L’Orgue Mystique, which was completed in 1932. Two different worlds are contained in this one piece. The first is very open and free, and is represented by Yusef Lateef’s out solo and the random movements of Dré Pallemaert’s drumming. The second is hemmed in by a strict frame of writing which investigates the rich textures that may be obtained by combining different wind instruments. Lionel Belmondo wanted to combine these two artistic phenomena to produce a layering effect resembling two spheres during an eclipse. They are faraway yet so close to each other, and cannot be separated from the image that they represent together. Placing himself just before the time kept by Laurent Fickelson, who betrays an unusual, poetic sensitivity in his sparse accompaniment, Lionel delivers a splendid sequence of notes describing a prism of different colours based around the G that marks the heart of this work. A brief polyphonic interval reminds us how much Tournemire’s spirit owes to Gregorian plain-song. The piece finishes off with a chord that is enthused with all the different musical textures that shape this work, and that Yusef Lateef rounds off with harmonics obtained using his pneumatic bamboo flute.

Composed by Yusef Lateef especially for this occasion, An Afternoon in Chattanooga touches the very soul of the listener as soon as the opening notes resound. This phenomenon is as much down to the instruments played in unison and the layering of different timbres - which achieve a magnificent density, as to the motifs played by the author of this piece on the pneumatic bamboo flute and the «moan» flute (as Cannonball Adderly, who played with Yusef Lateef between 1962 and 1964, called this instrument). All through this piece which was created to be played in a canon, it’s possible to make out shifts describing return, reminiscence, echo and rebounds. However, there are also occasional friction and sporadic spurts of energy, as if the composer was dreaming of that afternoon in a town in Tennessee, where he was born in 1920. It sounds like he has attempted to transpose some of the movements that led to the awakening of his conscience. A brief exchange between Yusef Lateef on the flute and Lionel Belmondo on the soprano saxophone follow the piano interlude. The orchestra gives the full measure of its talent for interpretation by ensuring that the rainbow textures vibrate and by emphasising the various dimensions of sound movement that give life to this spellbinding work.

The title Suite Over Time was suggested by Lateef himself. It combines four pieces that are emblematic of the American saxophonist’s career and bear witness to his openness and originality. Taken from «Jazz Mood» (Savoy, 1957), Morning has an obsessive, throbbing theme to it. On this recording, the tempo has been deliberately slowed down to reveal all its majesty. Paul Imm’s double bass takes on the role of the rebab - a monodic Arab instrument that the double bassist Ernie Farrow (Alice Coltrane’s half brother) played in 1975. As for Dré Pallemaert, he reproduces the scraping of chains which is evocative of that «fateful morning» which is so deeply entrenched in African-American memory. On this track, as on the other four that make up this suite, Lionel Belmondo and Christophe Dal Sasso have created their own arrangements by transposing the musical rules established by the original quintet, in exactly the same way that they adapted Lili Béranger’s score in «Hymne au Soleil» (it was originally intended for piano and voice but was modified so that it could be played by an orchestra). Yusef Lateef’s tenor saxophone solo, followed by a trombone solo by the extraordinary Glenn Ferris, make up two exceptional moments which have quite a few points of convergence. Draped in a mantle of wood-like tones, the theme takes hold as it is explored a second time, and this time around the accentuation resembles an ode to joy.

Metaphor is also taken from the album «Jazz Mood»; it was the opening track on that recording. This piece begins with a double bass solo which concludes with the use of an effects pedal upon which Lionel Belmondo has added harmonies for the soprano saxophone, the oboe and the French horn. Yusef Lateef originally used the argol (or arghoul - a double clarinet of Egyptian origin made from reeds) to produce these sounds. Using a chord progression akin to that of a minor blues, the flute introduces the melody. It is held up by the orchestra which plays an adaptation of the musical style belonging to two men with whom Yusef Lateef worked for a great many years - Curtis Fuller, the trombonist, and Hugh Lawson, the pianist. This last musician is an unsung hero of jazz - he played exclusively in Detroit. Yusef Lateef’s solo is nimble and expertly balanced. It contains references to George Gershwin’s Summertime, and its characteristics are elegantly turned out. Paul Imm once again gets the opportunity to prove that he’s not only an accomplished accompanist before Stéphane Belmondo launches into a chorus that turns the clocks back all the way to conjuring up the memory of Roy Eldridge, with whom Yusef Lateef played in 1946. A final return to the exposition of the theme concludes with a melodic line which is arranged in tiers and reveals the essential peculiarity of this work.

Composed by Yusef Lateef for his daughter, who is no longer with us, Iqbal is a promise of piety which was originally featured on «The centaur and the Phoenix» (Riverside, 1960). It is one of the pieces on this record with the strongest emotional pull. After a few bars of piano which have been taken from the original, the introduction gives way to a mood of polytonal strangeness dominated by a dissonance that was originally derived form the argol. The tone is melancholic and the music is torn apart by a lament which cannot be clearly defined. Originally played on the oboe, the melody of this theme is interpreted by Yusef Lateef, firstly on the flute, and then a second time by Lionel Belmondo who combines it with the lines played by French horn and the oboe. All the while, trumpets and horns brood in menacing half tones. The ballad tempo means that the musicians have ample space to explore the originality of this work which was concealed within the 1960 interpretation (in nonet). Laurent Fickelson closely follows the chord progression over ten bars in a poignant solo, and the discreet background arrangements underline this unusual progression. A transition, that Christophe Dal Sasso’s manager suggested to him, brings us delicately back to the melodic purity of the theme which is played one last time by Yusef Lateef, who finishes off with one fine chord. The theme seems simple and unadorned on the surface, yet it belies a complexity and an audacity which betrays, amongst others, the impact Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night had on the composer.

Recorded in July 1963 with the Adderly brothers sextet in Japan («Nippon Soul» on Riverside) and by Yusef Lateef in a Philadelphia club, Pep’s, in June 1964 («Live at Pep’s volume 2» also on Impulse), Brother John is one of Yusef Lateef’s most well known jazz themes. Christophe Dal Sasso has welded together the two different versions to obtain an opening chord played by the orchestra, as well as the series of four extensions which follow. Moved by the tribute the Belmondo brothers intended to pay him, Yusef Lateef picked up the oboe once again, an instrument he had not played for eleven years. This gave him enough scope to interpret the ternary and modal theme that he had originally dedicated to his friend, John Coltrane. In a completely open manner, his solo begins with a brief reference to A Love Supreme and then blossoms in a series of spiral turns and flourishes that are as disorientating as they are unpredictable. They remind us somewhat of the soprano on the original «Bother John». Stéphane moves a little distance away from the ternary structure, all the better to come back to it later. He plays around with rhythmical limits and the jerkiness of the piece to rev up the pressure a second time until we reach a transition developed by Christophe Dal Sasso. He uses a riff heard on the Pep’s live recording as a starting point. Lionel Belmondo’s solo, on the soprano saxophone, starts of with a momentary tribute to Out of this World, a jazz standard that Coltrane was particularly fond of. Lionel’s playing gathers momentum, before coming back to a dazzling rendition of the central theme. Glenn Ferris, who oscillates between, multiphonics and acid glissandos, picks up the baton on this «Chasin’ the Trane» relay, as random chords allow the listener to distinguish the defracted qualities of the central theme. At the end of the piece, Brother John bursts forth one last time, played by Yusef Lateef and Lionel Belmondo in a scintillating mix of inter-twined voices and timbres.

Le Jardin is the second composition that Yusef Lateef contributed to this project with the Belmondo brothers. It is entirely written, with no improvisation, and is evocative of a colourful world and soundscapes which are not unlike those favoured by Duke Ellington and Gil Evans. The timbres shudder with effects and nuances. At the same time, this dense but fragile music resembles a kind of synthesis. At the centre of this amalgamation, one can easily make out, more or less clearly depending on the power each individual’s imagination, the influence of French classical music, of Oriental textures and elements of serial music. An astonishing burgeoning of essences and aromas provides the incomparable poetry of this piece.

The powerful emotions that could be felt in the recording studio after two days of intense work were always genuine. This is because the musicians involved in this project all considered it to be an extraordinary opportunity. The Belmondo brothers and the other contributors could share a part of their lives with someone who they naturally considered to be one of their primary influences. However, beyond this transmission, Yusef Lateef sets an example for us all. He is a man whose integrity is amazingly intact, and he is entirely devoted to music. Yusef Lateef is one of those people who, when you come into contact with them, help you rediscover the importance of all the essential values defining human existence. If this music is conducive to peace and meditation and rich in memory and invention it is due to the intensity of the interpretation and the soloists’ inspiration. However, it is also guided by a gesture that cannot entirely be defined - a gesture of communion, sharing, tolerance and awakening. Sometimes we still have the courage to call this gesture love. For decades, Yusef Lateef has chosen to express this feeling through music. His «brothers», the Belmondos, are fully aware of all that they have leaned from this experience and can claim as their own the motto that Yusef Lateef used to place at the forefront of some of his recordings - The world that loves, lives.

Vincent Bessières

Journaliste à Jazzman.

(translation by Claire Simon)

Will post more later - just let me add that this is one of the most impressive albums I've heard during recent months! Highly recommended

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be seeing and photographing Lateef in 28 more days.....can't wait!!!

m~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been digging a bit - o' Mr. Lateef lately myself for some reason. Have been into "Centaur & the Phoenix," "Three Faces Of...," and "Eastern Sounds." Very hip "vibes" from this music - then again, a lot of GREAT tenor jam too! Hugh Lawson is also a damn fine pianist to have accompany you! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a huge Lateef fan. In fact, he's one of my favorite tenors as far as sound and expressive style goes.

I'm not able to post much lately but suffice it to say I really like tons of his oeuvre, though I'm not that big a fan of his newagey sort of material.

Wish the final bits of Savoy material, and the remaining Impulse titles, would hurry up and make it to domestic cd release.

Edited by jazzbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this might be more in the funk room, but since this seems to be the overall lateef corner-

which of the atlantics are peoples favorites?

i have "the doctor is in..." and it's ok, as i mentioned in the funk thread. i used to have "the blue yusef lateef" and it didn't do it for me but maybe that was because of thom jurek's hyping hyperbole.

other ones like "suite 16" and "hush n thunder" look interesting but i never end up buying them.

are they all inconsistent albums?

i guess the one that isn't actually around on CD, "ten years hence" is peoples favorite from my internet research!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Inconsistent is a fair assessment, imo. But I'd never sell The Blue Yusef Lateef based on the strength of "Like It Is" alone!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mostly inconsistent in conception, right?

sort of like kenny barron's muse sides! well not that bad....

but if you took kenny barron's muse albums and reprogrammed them, you would have one sick electric jazz album, a nice solo album, and a good straighter modern jazz album.

sorry for getting off course already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which Kenny Barron Muse album is "Hellbound" on? I love that tune.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hellbound is on an album called "satan" i think.

HOWEVER-the song is also on the yusef lateef album "the doctor is in..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, I have The Doctor Is In...

The Kenny Barron version has no percussion, it's killer.

Thanks akanalog!

Edited by Noj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been digging a bit - o' Mr. Lateef lately myself for some reason. Have been into "Centaur & the Phoenix," "Three Faces Of...," and "Eastern Sounds." Very hip "vibes" from this music - then again, a lot of GREAT tenor jam too! Hugh Lawson is also a damn fine pianist to have accompany you! :)

Those are all terrific albums - I like all the stuff that OJC has put out, and Live a t Pep's on Impulse! is amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bringing this one back up. Have heard a fantastic live show of Lateef & Belmondo (on radion only, alas...) and found that even more impressive, with Lateef still playing powerfully, honestly, directly... great that he's still in such astonishing shape!

Mark, I dare ask: do you have a few nice photos to share here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To continue the Atlantic discussion from above: I only have "Blue YL", "YL's Detroit" and "Part of the Search". I enjoy the former two a lot! "Part of the Search" is a rag-bag, some of it is alright, though... but the 32jazz edition I have (pairing it with the 3-side Rahsaan) doesn't even give line-ups for the individual tracks, very carppy.

I wouldn't take the Blue and Detroit albums apart, I enjoy them a lot just as they come. I would enjoy hearing more straight ahead Lateef of those years, though... the few quartet cuts indicate he still had a lot going on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a huge Lateef fan. In fact, he's one of my favorite tenors as far as sound and expressive style goes.

I'm not able to post much lately but suffice it to say I really like tons of his oeuvre, though I'm not that big a fan of his newagey sort of material.

Wish the final bits of Savoy material, and the remaining Impulse titles, would hurry up and make it to domestic cd release.

It's funny but I've been playing rather a lot of his music recently, including most of his OJC titles. He is a very underated musician mainly, I think, because he plays so many different instruments. I prefer his tenor playing myself.

I too wish that the rest of the Savoy titles would get released although I'm very happy with what I already have on 'The last Savoy Sessions'. I'm also very fond of 'Before dawn' on Verve which was released as a limited issue some years ago is now quite difficult to find. However I understand that it is due to be re-released in Japan sometime in October.

Finally, having recently read the 'House that Trane built' I managed to locate copies of the two 'Live at Pep's' albums which seem to be the Impulse recordings that most reviewers prefer. If I enjoy those then I will probably go for the other Impulse recordings that are available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "Live at Pep's" are terrific! Great band, featuring unsung Richard Williams on trumpet. I don't think these live albums are comparable to the other Impulse albums - I only have "Golden Flute" and "Psychicemotus" - both are very good, but rather different from the live session, which is rawer, more intense, sometimes maybe ragged...

As for the Savoys: the early ones I think are even better than the sessions on the "Last Savoy" package. I know the Mood one and "Jazz for Thinkers", both are terrific! The Verve album you mention is great as well! Mostly tenor there, for a change. He certainly is a great tenor sax player, but then I think all together he's *much* more than just that. He was a true pioneer, some of his 50s albums already have a vibe that was to turn into "world music" (whatever that means), exploring musical styles and heritages beyond jazz limits and always turning up great albums in the end... "Eastern Sounds" is a case in point - there's so much more to that than to most other albums of the same time (1961, I think, in this case). This kind of "all-encompassing" thinking is what impresses me most with him, kind of a "universal" musicianship.

Maybe it's just this what led him to do all those weird-looking (I haven't heard any, thus "looking") albums he released on his own label in the 70s and 80s?

Is there any of those that are recommended? I have heard most of the two tenor albums (and I own the one with Vonski), but nothing else from YAL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Live at Peps', 'The Golden Flute' and 'Before Dawn' are my 3 favourites. All of them absolutely terrific.

I have the Verve Elite of 'Before Dawn' (came and went in a hot minute) but still seeking a holy grail vinyl of that one. Anyone ever seen it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be seeing and photographing Lateef in 28 more days.....can't wait!!!

m~

How's it been?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Verve Elite of 'Before Dawn' (came and went in a hot minute) but still seeking a holy grail vinyl of that one. Anyone ever seen it?

I remember seeing the original vinyl when it came out but I had bought enough Lateefs (Savoy, Prestige...) at the time and let that one go! Stupid me!

I bought the CD reissue as soon as it was reissued.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget "Lateef At Cranbrook", a 1957 set with Frank Morrelli, Terry Jean Pollard and Will Austin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the Savoy 2-CD set, "The Last Savoy sessions" ... Orrin Keepnews says in the opening paragraph of his notes that "This is the first of two double-CD reissues that will present the full Savoy output of Yusef Lateef ..." The question is will the other double-CD set ever see the light of day? (Or has it? I can find no record of it.) The second set should contain the first 17 selections recorded by Lateef for the Savoy label, and the two sets would then contain the full 36 selections. I have resisted replacing my old viny with copies of the early unremastered Savoy CD reissues .. but perhaps I will have to do it. Is Savoy still doing reissues?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they're still dribbling out some Atlantic/Savoys every now and then. No, that second two cd set has not come out ("The First Savoy Sessions"?). I have all the vinyl of these other sessions and also a Savoy/Denon cd or so that I think includes some of the material (I love those Savoy/Denon jewelcase and lp facimile cds!)

Here's hoping we'll see this two cd set someday.. . . I don't really know if it will or not.

Edited by jazzbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in Detroit at a time when Yusef was a regular fixture on the local jazz scene. I had the good fortune to see him live countless times. In my view he is a marvelous tenor player that has been never given the respect he deserves as one of the best on that instrument. I very much like all his recordings on Savoy, Prestige, New Jazz, Riverside, Verve, Charlie Parker (now on Collectables), and Impulse. When he moved away from straight ahead jazz into the more new age style I lost interest in his playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.