Yusef LATEEF - Ten Years Hence 1975
This double LP was one of Yusef Lateef's last significant recordings. Soon he would take a long hiatus, live in Africa and return with some new age-oriented records. But on this date, a quartet outing with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Bob Cunningham and drummer Albert "Tootle" Heath, Lateef (on tenor, flute, oboe, sealhorns, shanie, African thumb piano and percussion) is heard in prime form. One song has a string section another adds horns and background vocals but the emphasis is on the leader who gets to stretch out with three pieces being over 15 minutes; Lateef really digs into the date's lone standard on "But Beautiful." Worth searching for.
By Scott Yanov. AMG.
This set was produced by Joel Dorn and recorded live at San Francisco's legendary Keystone Corner, with some other elements overdubbed later in the studio. The band is stellar: Yusef playing no less than eight instruments, Kenny Barron on piano and cowbell, upright bassist Bob Cunningham (who also plays percussion instruments), Albert "Kumba" Heath on drums and various percussion, and a lone track with Bill Salter on electric bass. The shortest tune here is eight and a half minutes, and it's no less a composition that Barron's classic tune "A Flower"; the rest are all 12 minutes and up -- there are only five tunes for four LP sides! The album kicks off with Cunningham's three-part suite "Samba de Amor." Clocking in at over 22 minutes, it begins as a spiritual percussion orgy with all bandmembers joining in. Lateef uses a shanir to get inside, but also uses it as a percussion instrument. Two minutes in, Cunningham is bowing his bass elegiacally, but the melody is sweet, like a lost, haunted love song. Yusef's flute enters two minutes later and joins him in this slow skeletal song before the percussion section enters again in a joyous route as the second part begins and gives way to the longest section, a proper samba, full of lithe flute blowing, saxophone blowing, kit drums playing insane breaks, and wordless vocals covering the backdrop. This is followed by the tenor burner "Yusef's Mood," which covers soul, jazz, rhythm & blues, and boogie-woogie in its 18 minutes. The band is shouting and chanting a chorus as the audience goes nuts! Think of the audience participation on the Jazz Crusaders live albums times ten. There is a gorgeous reading of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke's standard "But Beautiful," which ranks as one of the best ever committed to tape. The intuition and ease these players have with one another allows them to go out on ledges and keep melodies and time signatures together, yet experiment wildly with harmonics. The overdubbed strings on Barron's tune don't do much for it, frankly, but his piano improvisation around Lateef's flute is stunning. The encore is Lateef's killer "I Be Cold." There is a female backing chorus that was added later, but Lateef raps and plays call and response with his seal horn, while Cunningham's fuzzed-out bowed bass is gutbucket funky and greasy. The flute solo is so deep, so tight, that it demands the overdubbed trumpets and backing vocals to support and accent it. The funky horns and Heath's breaks set fire to the whole damn thang. This is not an album for everybody, but it is easily one of the most underrated sets in Lateef's vast catalog.
By Thom Jurek, All Music Guide.
Yusef Lateef- Tenor, Flute, Oboe, Shenai, African Thumb Piano and Percussion ;
Albert Heath- (Flute, Drums, Percussion);
Kenny Barron- (Piano, Cowbells);
Bob Cunningham- (Bass);
Bill Salter- (Bass Guitar).
A1. Medley: Samba De Amor/Samba De Amor/Time Montage/Samba De Amor 22:14
B1. Yusef's Mood 18:01
C1. But Beautiful 12:24
C2. Flower, A 8:28
D1. I Be Cold 17:58