Yusef Lateef

Live at Pep's, Vol. 2

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Recorded live at Pep's Lounge in Philadelphia on June 29, 1964, Yusel Lateef can be heard at his best. He combines his proclivity for musical eccentricity with a number of hard-swinging tunes. As usual, he plays not only tenor saxophone, but flute, oboe, and a very obscure instrument called an argol (a double clarinet that resembles a bassoon). He's backed by Richard Williams on trumpet, Mike Nock on piano, Ernie Farrow on bass, and James Black on drums, and this group really shines on bluesy versions of "Brother John" and "Nu-Bouk."

The ballads, "I Loved" and "I Remember Clifford," are lovely, subtle, and filled with brilliant climaxes and melodious tenderness. Other tracks, such as "The Magnolia Triangle" and "Listen to the Wind," push the boundaries of hard bop, as Lateef and crew experiment with moments of harsh dissonance bordering on atonality. An extremely creative and well-conceived set of music, Live at Pep's, Vol. 2 delves into the very heart of jazz, for it seeks to push the envelope of spontaneity and improvisation and stretch one's concept of structure and form.

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