This week’s programme was a spiritual and soulful one, inspired by the Take Three featured artist Yusef Lateef.
The choice of Lateef (still playing in his 90s) was an obvious one for our Take Three feature as he reflects the eclectic approach to jazz which we take here at Cosmic Jazz. There is no doubt that you can describe Lateef as a jazz artist but his influences and choice of instruments reflect a global, and particularly Eastern approach, as exemplified in his Eastern Sounds record from which I played The Plum Blossom. On this track Lateef played a 1,200 years old Chinese flute which he bought in Chinatown, New York. Before Dawn has featured on the show several times before: beginning with an incredibly distinctive and haunting introduction and continuing with sounds which makes you wonder where on earth (literally) the music comes from. It’s the same with the eclectic range of instruments used by Lateef. Although Lateef’s main instruments are the tenor sax and flute, he also plays oboe and bassoon (both rare in jazz), and also uses a number of instruments from around the world, notably the bamboo flute, shanai, shofar and koto..
Eastern Sounds was Lateef’s breakthrough album and was recorded in 1961, although he had over a dozen records under his belt before dropping this classic. It’s a truly far-sighted, wide-ranging and cosmic recording and it undoubtedly influenced other world jazz artists like Don Cherry.
Psychicemotus is the title tune from the eponymous CD from his period on Impulse! Records and was recorded in 1965. It neatly sums up what Lateef is about.
Cannonball Adderley opened the show as an artist that Yusef Lateef played with. Adderley’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy gave the show a soulful and spiritually uplifting start, which continued with Ramsey Lewis, someone who is easy to overlook with his pop covers, several of which can be found on The In Crowd Anthology from which I played Eternal Journey. This tune, also on the Anthology, showed that at his best he should be taken seriously. Finally in this section, Herman Gerlen with Kyrie from his Jazz Mass was an excellent lead into Lateef’s otherwordly sounds.
The rest of the show continued in a deep, soulful, at times contemplative vein. A special mention for my choice for the week from my record shelves which was from the World Trade Music CD of the drummer/percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett. His Vital Force is an incredibly strong and intense sound produced by what is on that track just a trio.
- Cannonball Adderley – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy from Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
- Ramsey Lewis – Eternal Journey from The In Crowd Anthology
- Hermann Gehlen – Kyrie from Spiritual Jazz 3
- Yusef Lateef – Before Dawn – from Before Dawn
- Yusef Lateef – The Plum Blossom from Eastern Sounds
- Yusef Lateef – Psychicemotus from Psychicemotus
- Meshell Ndegeocello – Papillon from Dance of the Infidel
- Kira Neris – Open Doors from Behind Closed Doors
- Horace Parlan – Fugee from Up & Down
- Jose James – No Beginning No End from No Beginning No End
- Freddie Hubbard (with Al Jarreau) – Little Sunflower from Freddie Hubbard Anthology
- Francisco Mora Catlett – Vital Force (Yoruba Traditional p.d.) from World Trade Music