Yusef Lateef

Sonata Fantasia

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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

Here is another of Dr. Lateef's non-traditional music pieces that has inspired many in the States and in Africa where he taught for many years. On Sonata Fantasia, composer and pianist Alex J. Marcelo is given the opportunity to use what he's learned both as a student of Dr. Lateef's and of world and jazz musics and put them into a unified whole. Comprised of seven movements from "Adagio" to "Presto" to "Codetta," with "Scherzo," "Allegretto," and even a "Molto Adagio" in between (none of these are listed in the proper order because it's unimportant anywhere but in the music itself). Regrettably, despite the use of many instruments to color and orchestrate his work, such as Dr. Lateef's soloing on everything from tenor and an array of flutes to a koto and gourdophone to multiple percussion instruments and even using his voice and electronic keyboard, and the digital orchestration of M. Abidh Waugh, the music, despite its notations in the movements, never reaches above a ponderous ambient wash of piano and soundscape. It's all opaque, and no one movement really distinguishes itself from another. It's a muddle.

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