Selection 2: Don’t Blame Me (Dedicated to WordPress)
Yusef Lateef (ts, fl, bamboo fl, ob) Barry Harris (p) Ernie Farrow (b, rabat) Lex Humphries (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 5, 1961
Lateef had a fascination with Eastern mysticism, but in my opinion (others disagree!) was not really successful in fusing it with jazz, if that was the intention. Lateef’s flute and oboe sound to me more like a soundtrack to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope’s Road to Morocco. Enter the snake-charmer. The Love Theme from Spartacus, the tune everybody seems to raves about, I can only describe as “cheesy”: Hollywood biblical blockbuster backcloth music.
Putting the movie tunes aside however, there is plenty of meat in the album as a whole. The modal Snafu begins with Lateef getting a grip on his own composition, finding the metre in time for his solo, while the piano vamp and bass groove remains menacing and aggressive throughout. Great stuff. The second selection here, the delightful flowing ballad Dont Blame Me shows no sign of Eastern Promise whatsoever, and all the better for it..
AllMusic his the nail on the head – the real star here is Barry Harris on piano:
“Harris’s presence is among the most rewarding features of the record. He never puts on world music airs but never fails to fit in. Whereas Lateef’s ersatz Eastern oboe … sounds corny, Harris’s fills are always apposite…Stanley Crouch would claim that is because Harris’s basic vocabulary, fundamentally derived from Monk, is already non-Western in a profound sense”
In a profound sense or any other kind of sense, he’s right.
Though the first UK release is earlier, on Fontana, this second release around 1966 by Transatlantic is a very nice pressing indeed, and achieves a real sense of presence. The audio quality of Transatlantic is not well-recognised, and they are often undervalued (ie cheap)
Pressing plant unknown, not recognisably any of the UK majors
YUSEF LATEEF EASTERN SOUNDS- SCARCE TRANSATLANIC PRESSING!
CLASSIC YUSEF DATE FEAT THE “LOVE THEME FROM SPARTACUS” AND THE HARD HITTING “SNAFU”
TRANSATLANTIC UK PRESS WITHOUT THE USA PRESTIGE BACKGROUND HISS/NOISE!
COVER CONDITION: VG+
RECORD CONDITION: NEAR MINT
A” second chance” purchase, thanks to the original purchaser failing to execute his half of the Ebay agreement. I thought my offer was a very
fair generous one in the first place, no reason to complain. Its actually my second “second chance”. Good system from my point of view. Everyone deserves a second chance.
I’ll play you out with the love theme from Spartacus, see how you feel about it
Best Line from Spartacus (apart from the “I am Spartacus” moment):
“Come with us. See to it I don’t misuse the money” – “Don’t be ridiculous. I’m a Senator”