Yusef Lateef

Yusef's Mood, Vol. 2: Complete 1957 Sessions

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Apparently, Spain's Fresh Sound imprint felt they could make more money if they split up the massive four-disc set Yusef's Mood: Complete 1957 Sessions with Hugh Lawson into two separate titles. This second volume is different from the first in two major respects. First there are a couple of personnel changes: flugelhornist Wilbur Harden replaces Curtis Fuller's trombone, and Oliver Jackson replaces drummer Louis Hayes. The second respect is the more adventurous bent of the material. Two of these albums -- Jazz and the Sounds of Nature and Prayer to the East were recorded for Savoy -- while two more -- Other Sounds and The Sounds of Yusef -- were recorded for New Jazz. The multi-instrumental approach began in earnest here. While Lateef used the argol in addition to his flute and saxophones on the earlier recordings, in Harden, who also uses a cowbell and a balloon, he found a willing adventurer. Hugh Lawson was employing all manner of sounds as well as employing a metallophone, an ocarina, and finger cymbals, and Jackson used a Chinese gong to embellish the sound of his drums. Lateef even sang, or at least vocalized, on some of the cuts here. Lateef's Eastern Sounds breakthrough was still a year off, but the origins of it are here. That doesn't mean that any of these records are strange or subpar. Far from it, everything here is top-notch, the work of a thinker and visionary who could emote in an accessible way to fans across the jazz spectrum. This volume is highly recommended as well for those who either only want the latter 1957 material, or can't afford the whole box yet.

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