Yusef Lateef: The Plum Blossom
The Plum Blossom
Yusef Lateef (Chinese globular flute)
Eastern Sounds (Prestige 30012)
Ernie Farrow (Indian rabab).
Recorded: Englewood Clilffs, NJ, September 5, 1961
Rating: 81/100 (learn more)
Master reedman Yusef Lateef was playing “world music” before the genre had a title. As early as the mid-1950s African, Near and Far Eastern influences are heard in his compositions and improvisations; by the end of the decade his records included many foreign instruments. On “The Plum Blossom” Lateef opts for the Chinese globular flute—which allowed him the use of only five pitches. He works within this limitation magnificently, constructing a concise improvisation that continuously evolves the simple, buoyant theme. Though the piece is built on only two chords and a repetitive rhythmic vamp, its exotic, minimalist qualities are compelling.
Reviewer: Matt Leskovic