Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yusef Lateef - Live at Pep's Vol. 1 & 2

This mid-'60s concert was one of Lateef's finest, as it perfectly displayed his multiple influences and interests. There were hard bop originals, covers of jazz classics like Oscar Pettiford's "Oscarlypso" (a CD bonus track) and Leonard Feather's "Twelve Tone Blues," as well as an unorthodox but effective version of Ma Rainey's "See See Rider." On "Sister Mamie," "Number 7," and drummer James Black's "The Magnolia Triangle," Lateef moved away from strict jazz, although he retained his improvisational flair. Lateef played meaty tenor sax solos and entrancing flute and bamboo flute offerings, and also had impressive stints on oboe, shenai, and argol. This was a pivotal date in his career, and those unaware of it will get a treat with this disc.

Thankfully Impulse had the good sense to complete the entire Live at Pep's evening by releasing Volume 2 in 1999. Impulse has been notoriously slow to release Yusef Lateef's material that he recorded for them in the 1960s onto CD (shamefully, only the two Live at Pep's albums were domestically available in 1999). Volume Two carries on this document of a live Yusef hard bop date in much the same fashion as Volume One. Both are particularly incredible in their recording quality and the performances of each player. The selections and the energy that is put into each and every song is especially moving, but shines specifically bright on "P-Bouk" and "Yusef's Mood," -- both showcase Yusef's highly personal and breathy approach to the flute. If you've got Volume One, Volume Two is an absolute, unquestionable must-have. If you don't have Volume One (or any Yusef Lateef recordings for that matter), buy them both.

Download Volume 1
Download Volume 2


bruno said...

Wow, I have volume 1 on vinyl and wasn't aware of this second one. Many thanks!

Doug said...

Nice set. Thanks for sharing.