Sunday, July 17, 2022

Yusef Lateef - Yusef's Mood, Complete 1957 Sessions with Hugh Lawson [2008] (4 x CD's)




Yusef Lateef - Yusef's Mood, Complete 1957 Sessions with Hugh Lawson [2008] (4 x CD's)

This massive four-disc set of Yusef Lateef's first recordings as a leader was issued by Spain's Fresh Sound imprint and contains a total of eight different records, all but one recorded under the guidance of engineer Rudy Van Gelder for the Savoy, Verve, and Prestige/New Jazz imprints. Considering he was 37 when he began recording as a leader, and had served tenures in New York with Hot Lips Page, Roy Eldridge, and Ernie Fields, Lateef was fully developed as a composer and arranger. His band for these sessions is stellar. His Detroit crew was comprised of monsters even as the band mutated a bit: the original unit featured Lateef with trombonist Curtis Fuller, bassist Ernie Farrow, pianist Hugh Lawson, and drummer Louis Hayes. Changes would take place later in the year: Oliver Jackson replaced Hayes, and flugelhorn boss Wilbur Harden took over the chair vacated by Fuller. In the Lateef vision, these differences were all part of the plan: exploring his passions in uniting African and Asian folk traditions with American music.

Some of the albums included here are now considered legendary sessions. Those include Jazz for the Thinker, Jazz Mood, Before Dawn, and Other Sounds. The other four, Stable Mates, Jazz and the Sounds of Nature, Prayer to the East, and The Sounds of Yusef, are no less satisfying. That said, only one of these recordings (Other Sounds,) has remained continually in print during the CD era. While it was not uncommon for recording artists to spend loads of time in the studio (the system was different then than it is now), making records and getting paid in addition to gigging at clubs, eight albums (and part of a ninth) is a lot of work in a year for anyone. This only underscores the depth of commitment Lateef and his collaborators had when it came to exploring new sounds, and incorporating different scalar elements, tonalities, and in Lateef's case, instruments, into the group sound. Lateef alternately plays tenor, flute, argol, scraped gourd, and an Indian reed whistle. While the music perhaps sounded otherworldly at the time, it always swung, no matter how much space was incorporated, no matter the rhythmic structure, melody, and lushly integrated harmonic sensibilities among the musicians, which were part of the core musical architecture. Some of the key tracks here are "Happyology," "Morning,""8540 Twelfth Street," "Taboo," "Love Is Eternal," and the title track to Before Dawn. Check the slightly angular structure at the beginning of "Space," from Jazz Mood: one can hear a gorgeously knotty nod to Thelonious Monk's compositions of the era, but it's all Lateef.

While it is true that sometimes Fresh Sound offerings are lacking in quality, this set, for the most part, is quite good. The sound is requisitely full and warm. A/B'ing from the LPs, it represents quite accurately the range and depth, especially in the piano and basslines, what is there. The booklet contains the liner notes to each of the individual albums, and full session details. Essential for those deeply interested in the still futuristic work of Lateef. (AllMusic review by Thom Jurek)


Pt.1     Pt.2 


Track lists


01 Yusef Lateef Beauregard 3:35

02 Yusef Lateef O'Blues 9:11

03 Yusef Lateef Happyology 11:15

04 Yusef Lateef Midday 7:54

05 Yusef Lateef Polarity 7:05

06 Yusef Lateef Ameena 7:08

07 Yusef Lateef Space 5:54

08 Yusef Lateef Metaphor 8:06

09 Yusef Lateef Morning 10:36

10 Yusef Lateef The Beginning 4:10


01 Yusef Lateef G. Bouk 10:15

02 Yusef Lateef Blues in Space 7:05

03 Yusef Lateef Yusef's Mood 8:34

04 Yusef Lateef Passion 4:05

05 Yusef Lateef Love is Eternal 6:32

06 Yusef Lateef Pike's Peak 5:32

07 Yusef Lateef Open Strings 6:15

08 Yusef Lateef Before Down 5:27

09 Yusef Lateef Twenty Five Minute Blues 5:29

10 Yusef Lateef Chang Chang Chang 2:59

11 Yusef Lateef Constellation 4:49

12 Yusef Lateef Seulb 6:13

13 Yusef Lateef Sounds of Nature 3:47


01 Yusef Lateef Song of Delilah 8:21

02 Yusef Lateef 8540 Twelfth Street 4:25

03 Yusef Lateef I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good 6:19

04 Yusef Lateef Check Blues 6:40

05 Yusef Lateef Prayer to the East 8:17

06 Yusef Lateef A Night in Tunisia 9:50

07 Yusef Lateef Lover Man 6:38

08 Yusef Lateef Endura 13:08

09 Yusef Lateef Love Dance 6:44

10 Yusef Lateef Sram 5:37

11 Yusef Lateef Gypsy Arab 3:26


01 Yusef Lateef Playful Flute 4:18

02 Yusef Lateef Taboo 9:10

03 Yusef Lateef Ecaps 6:34

04 Yusef Lateef All Alone 5:06

05 Yusef Lateef Anastasia 4:13

06 Yusef Lateef Love and Humour 6:13

07 Yusef Lateef Buckingham 5:09

08 Yusef Lateef Lambert's Point 4:44

09 Yusef Lateef Meditation 4:42

10 Yusef Lateef Mahaba 3:49

11 Yusef Lateef Minor Mood 9:37

12 Yusef Lateef Take the A Train 11:13




  1. Thanks Butterboy, I didn't have any of these.

  2. Such an overlooked great artist. Many thanks, BB.

    1. Tell me about it, pmac.
      Enjoy this wonderful set.

    2. Thank you Butterboy question do you have any SuperFunk Comps

    3. You're welcome KING.
      Sorry I don't have the series you ask for although I do have a best of comp, VA - SuperFunk's Mission Impossible-Hard To Find 45's And Unreleased Funk Masters [2011]

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities

  4. Thanks, Butterboy! I own some of the original vinyl and though they were great sessions then.

    1. You're welcome, agmosk.
      A nice pick up on your part. Enjoy.