Music Reviews
Yusef Lateef

Yusef Lateef

Atlantis Lullaby: The Concert in Avignon

Elemental Music

Atlantis Lullaby: The Concert in Avignon was recorded at the Cloître des Célestins on July 19, 1972. The concert was originally broadcast on an ORTF Radio program. The restored tapes have been produced for release by The Jazz Detective, Zev Feldman, as part of his ongoing crusade to rescue and make public recordings that have been sitting in tape libraries for decades. Yusef Lateef emerged from the Detroit jazz scene in the 1940s, playing with luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie. By 1957, he was leading his own groups and recording for Savoy Records. This 1971 concert features Lateef leading a quartet featuring Kenny Barron on piano, Bob Cunningham on bass, and Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums and flute. The concert opens with “Inside Atlantis.” Lateef’s tenor is high in the mix, with the rest of the group swinging but somewhat muted in the background. Yusef switches to flute on “A Flower,” a duet for flute and piano. “Yusef’s Mood” follows with a jumping blues groove and room for Kenny Barron to show off on the keys. The first disc closes with “Lowland Lullaby,” a duet with Bob Cunningham that features Albert Heath on Indian flute.

“Eboness” opens disc two with Yusef on flutes over a funky groove. Bob Cunningham takes an extended bass solo, which kind of brings everything to a standstill. The standard “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” is a showcase for Lateef’s smoky, mellow tenor. The set ends with another rocking hard bop workout called “The Untitled.” About halfway through the piece, the hard driving rhythms are replaced with a quiet meditation featuring a droning bass and restrained sax and piano solos.

Yusef Lateef was a pioneer of blending Eastern and Western music and remained active as a composer, player, and educator into his 90s. Atlantis Lullaby will help keep his legacy alive for a new generation.

Atlantis Lullaby: The Concert in Avignon is a special Record Store Day release, April 20, 2024.

Dr. Yusef LateefAtlantis Lullaby: The Concert in Avignon


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