Yusef Lateef has always sought to extend the boundaries of musical expression. Continuing his quest for new vistas in jazz, Yusef Lateef's 1989 release NOCTURNES is a subtle, even brooding, musical project that uses sound colors and stark musical landscapes to create, above all else, a sense of darkness and nighttime. This music is largely programmatic. In fact, NOCTURNES is probably best summed up as a modern tone poem. The writing is gloomy and ominous, dissonant and angular. Yet, each track retains a distinctly gentle and placid disposition. Trumpeter Hugh Schick plays with a rich, full bodied and legato approach throughout and Lateef's own flute playing is often quite heartrending as he soliloquizes over his own piano and keyboard playing.
NOCTURNES is a perfect CD for late nights or dreary afternoons, Lateef and crew challenge our ears to enter into a world that is at once desolate and austere, yet pretty and serene. In short, this is mood music at its best. Highlights include "Compassion Duration" and "Warm Intensity."