A 70s Milestone 2-fer reissue collecting two great 60s sides from Yusef Lateef. The Three Faces Of Yusef Lateef is a sublime piece of work, proof that he could be exotic and swinging at the same time. The three "faces" of the set are Lateef's work on tenor, flute, and oboe – each of which get a few tracks to themselves – as Lateef works with a core Detroit group of Hugh Lawson on piano, Herman Wright
on bass, and Lex Humphries on drums – to further refine the already great sound of his earlier albums for Savoy! Tunes are set up in such a way as to vary the instrumentation without varying the mood too much – making for a record with many voices, but a really unified sound overall – and one that's incredibly soulful on the best numbers. Ron Carter joins the group on cello on a few tracks, and Lawson even plays a bit of celeste on the set as well. Titles include "Lateef Minor 7th", "Salt Water Blues", "Adoration", and "Quarantine". The second LP, The Centaur & The Phoenix is an ambitious larger group album, one that's carried off with all the genius of his smaller group sessions from the time. Yusef is working again with a variety of reed instruments – including tenor sax, oboe, flute, and argol – amongst a larger horn section that also features Josea Taylor on bassoon, Tate Houston on baritone sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, and Clark Terry and Richard Williams on trumpet. Rhythm is by the trio of Joe Zawinul piano, Ben Tucker bass, and Lex Humphries drums – and although the horn arrangements are complicated, they're always soulfully swinging – never too academic, and really done on a way that just expands the mixture of exoticism and hardbop expressed on other Lateef albums! Titles include "Iqbal", "Apathy", "Summer Song", "Revelation", and "The Centaur & The Phoenix".
(Cover has some surface wear.)