Jazz reedman Yusef Lateef has always pushed the boundaries of his chosen genre jazz. In the 1950s, he was among the first Americans to incorporate Middle Eastern and African influences into jazz.
Now in his mid-70s, Lateef seems as exploratory as ever. This American reissue of a European release from 1993 got rave reviews in England, and no wonder. Lateef's four-part suite is epic in not only its title, but also in scope and exposition. He brilliantly uses all the sounds at his disposal strings to Spanish guitar, horn charts to simple hand percussion to weave his musical narration of the black experience in the United States, from slavery to the Civil Rights movement to the present. The music itself is avant-garde, often dissonant and never boring.
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