Always trying new and untested musical ideas, Yusef Lateef sets out on this recording date to create a tapestry of music that pulls both from jazz's rich history of improvisation and spontaneity, and classical music's structural contrivances. Lateef is heard alone on this recording, overdubbing each track himself. He plays a variety of instruments including reeds, flutes, and such obscurities as a shannie, gourdophone, kalangu, water drum, and percussive sitar.
Despite this, this album is largely driven by now-dated Casio and Ensoniq Mirage keyboards. Made in 1987, this music reflects the technology of the time. Nonetheless, YUSEF LATEEF'S LITTLE SYMPHONY is imaginative and, at times, quite moving. In particular, Lateef's rich, legato flute playing soars beautifully over the often-thick patina of chords and sound effects. Structured into four movements, this is a provocative album from a musician who dedicated his career to change and musical freedom.