Other Sounds was the first album on which Yusef Lateef looked beyond the confines of jazz and popular music to hear and perhaps "sing" the music he heard from the East. He hadn't yet embraced it, but it intrigued him enough to employ the use of an argol on this recording. Lateef's band on this date featured flügelhorn giant Wilbur Harden, pianist Hugh Lawson (who also played Turkish finger cymbals), bassist Ernie Farrow (who doubled on rebob), and drummer Oliver Jackson, who used an "earth-board" as well as his kit. The set begins innocently enough with a post-bop, semi-West Coast swing version of Irving Berlin's "All Alone" that's all Lateef. His lead with Harden quickly gives way to his long solo before the tune returns and they take it out. It's the next number here that marks jazz history. "Anastasia" begins with a deep gong from Japan and a dissonant Far East scale that calls drones into play against microtones and polyharmonics. After about two minutes it gives way to a gorgeously understated read of the Alfred Newman tune before giving way to the swinging blues of Lateef's own "Minor Mood," which should have perhaps been entitled "Minor Mode." The tune is most notable for Harden's slippery, open-toned solo in the middle register. The set ends with the beguiling and completely exotic "Mahaba," with the whole band engaging in vocal interplay in a made-up language and using all African instruments except for a flute. It sets the listener upright, and feels like an odd way to end a record, with this kind of inquiry, but that's Lateef at his best, always keeping listeners -- and his musicians -- on their toes. It's just beautiful.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek