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Album Review

Yusef Lateef's experimentalism hit the stratosphere in 1965 with the issue of 1984. With bassist Reggie Workman, pianist Mike Nock, and drummer James Black, from the eight-minute title track that opens the album and the two-minute, angular modal ballad "Try Love," 1984 certainly seems to be shaping up into one weird record. The title is an experimental, noodling improv that has Lateef literally moaning as if in mourning throughout — indecipherably no less — and "Try Love"'s minimalist reeds barely hint at a melodic structure. All of this would be perfectly in keeping with the time, of course. After all, Coltrane, Ornette, and Cecil Taylor were tearing up Western musical conventions as if they were yesterday's newspapers. But then with "Soul Sister," featuring Lateef's deep, bluesy, tenor blowing around a gorgeous lyric figure, and Mike Nock's stunningly beautiful soloing on "Love Waltz," the entire album moves in another direction, even if it isn't terribly focused. The off-kilter, blues rip on "One Little Indian" (yes, that one), with its carny piano and out saxophone blowing into the microphonic territories, sends it off into another space entirely until, at the end, when we've heard the lovely flute on his read of "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and have reentered the complex melodic world of Lateef, that we can understand where we've been harmonically, and it isn't somewhere familiar, though it has some signposts we recognize. In all, a complex yet very emotionally and musically rewarding effort by a master.


Born: 09 October 1920 in Chatanooga, TN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Yusef Lateef long had an inquisitive spirit and he was never just a bop or hard bop soloist. Lateef, who did not care much for the term "jazz," consistently created music that stretched (and even broke through) boundaries. A superior tenor saxophonist with a soulful sound and impressive technique, by the 1950s Lateef was one of the top flutists around. He also developed into the best jazz soloist to date on oboe, was an occasional bassoonist, and introduced such instruments as the argol (a double...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Yusef Lateef

1984, Yusef Lateef
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: 01 January 1965

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