Friday, January 13, 2006

Yusef Lateef - Hush 'n' Thunder (Atlantic, 1973)

This album by saxophonist and flautist Yusef Lateef is a bit of a strange mix of acoustic jazz, electric jazz funk R&B and more spaced out spiritual jazz. Future great Kenny Barron is featured on acoustic and electric piano and even a little organ and writes the majority of the compositions. An austere and compelling version of Duke Ellington's standard "Come Sunday" begins the proceedings as a duet between flute and cello. Things get a little bit odd with the composition "This Old Building" which takes a kitchen-sink approach, including sound effects, vocal shouts and a bluesy section in a cinematic performance. "Sunset" is a milder tune, featuring some very tastefully played Fender Rhodes electric piano by Kenny Barron. "His Eye is on the Sparrow" casts the net a bit wider by including a large vocal chior, in addition to very gospelized organ from Barron and a robust tenor saxophone solo from Lateef. "Destination Paradise" ends the album with a haunting flute centered improvisation, bringing the music around full circle back to its humble opening.

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