Track Selection: Head Hunters
Yusef Lateef – born William Huddleston – (ts, fl, ob) Hugh Lawson (p) Herman Wright (b) Roy Brooks Jr. (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 15-6, 1966
For 1966 Impulse – the other side of the cusp – this is pretty straight mainstream hard bop that sounds more like it belonged on the first half of the 60’s (which may not be unrelated to Van Gelder in the studio), but continuing the meme of a few tracks “oriental” sounds mixed with straight jazz .The players are almost entirely unknown to me, but I warmed to pianist Hugh Lawson immediately. In case you were wondering “Where’s Yusef?” on the track selection Head Hunters Lateef sits out entirely and the rhythm section works up a tune you’ll have in your head long after the music stops. No flute! Great!
Instant Bio: The Golden Flute was Lateef’s final recording for Impulse before moving to Atlantic, following which he moved out of recording entirely, spent the early Eighties in Nigeria, but returned to take up a musical education tenure in Massachusetts, being possibly more agreeable. He went on to win a Grammy in 1986 in the New Age category of all things. Other Grammy-winners that year including Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter and, unbelievably, someone I consider one of the worst blues guitarists it has been my misfortune to hear, Robert Cray.
The Eighties were a decade in which music all but lost its way as it morphed into popular mass culture. As a sumit to over twenty years in musical education, Lateef was awarded a Jazz Master Fellowship in 2010.
Vinyl: HMV CLP 3615 – UK release of US Impulse A 9125
An inexpensive way to dip another toe in the Lateef water, the HMV/EMI engineers continue to do a creditable job engineering Impulse recordings.
First UK Pressing by EMI Hayes, Middlesex – follow the curve
Source: Central London second-hand record shop, in an area you might expect to see Julia Roberts or Hugh Grant passing by.
Not a record that sets the collector pulses racing like Lateef’s earlier Eastern Sounds, which according to Popsike maxed at over $800 for a “Mint, preview copy, probably never played” according to the straight-faced seller. What kind of preview copy didn’t get …umm, previewed? The non-sequitur aside, that valued it to someone at nearly three times its previous best – another moment of madness on a collectors part – the lust for virgin vinyl. Prices for The Golden Flute are much more down to earth. Prices for the 99% of collectors:
The Golden Flute (max $55)
Eastern Sounds (max $815, second best $382):
How can two records by the same artist be so worlds apart. It can’t be just the cheesy Love Theme from Spartacus. Well, perhaps so. The Moodsville Eastern Sounds was being sold at a different sort of demographic and collector: “Perfect for DJs, Producers and Elite Diggers world wide!” Guess that rules me out. Though this is not quite the end of the Eastern Sounds story…as a forthcoming post will shortly reveal.