Yusef Lateef: The Centaur and the Phoenix

Track

The Centaur and the Phoenix

Artist

Yusef Lateef (tenor sax, flute, oboe, argol)

CD

The Centaur and the Phoenix (Riverside/OJC 721)

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Musicians:

Yusef Lateef (tenor sax, flute, oboe, argol),

Clark Terry, Richard Williams (trumpets), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Tate Houston (baritone sax), Josea Taylor (bassoon), Joe Zawinul (piano), Ben Tucker (bass), Lex Humphries (drums)

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Composed by Charles Mills

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Recorded: New York, October 4-5, 1960

Albumcoveryuseflateef-thecentaurandthephoenix

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

This album is filled to the brim with noteworthy events the first recorded composition from a 17-year-old Kenny Barron ("Revelation"), the soon-to-be-expected unordinary instrumentation of the Lateef reed section (baritone sax, bassoon, and any of Lateef's many possible reed choices), the inclusion of then-unknown Joe Zawinul on piano, and the insertion of "The Centaur and the Phoenix" and "Summer Song," two complex pieces written by contemporary classical composer Charles Mills. Part Ellington, part Mingus, and, according to Mills himself, part Neil Young's Crazy Horse and Charlie Parker, "The Centaur and the Phoenix" juggles brief improvisational statements from many of its members with a dense arrangement of classical motives and stop-time hits. It's a bold undertaking one that Lateef's groups would improve upon as the experimental phase of his career developed. Nonetheless, even in its earlier stages, it works.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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