Yusef Lateef: The Golden Flute (2004)
“Road Runner” is a slow, funky tune with gutsy improvising that segues into a slow, beautiful treatment of “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” a sultry ballad infused with melancholy beauty. Yet what would be a relatively straightforward session is augmented by Lateef’s interest in using other instruments to create new textures. Despite the title, there are only two tracks featuring Lateef on flute, but both show his interest in foreign scales and how they can enhance the palette available for improvisation in a consistent way. On “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You” the thin, reedy sound of Lateef’s oboe introduces a eerie quality into a straightforward standard. However, the cherry on top is “Head Hunters,” where Lateef sits out and the rhythm section works through a tune you’ll have in your head long after the recording is over.
In the end, Lateef proves himself on The Golden Flute to be an artist of merit, capable of creating a haunting session worthy of comparison to Wayne Shorter’s Blue Note recordings. This is an excellent opportunity to discover an artist whose work as a leader is well worth a listen.
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Track Listing: 1. Road Runner 2. Straighten Up and Fly Right 3. Oasis 4. I Don
Personnel: Yusef Lateef
Record Label: Impulse!