A tremendous record from one of our favorite saxophonists of the past decade – the completely sublime, completely wonderful Nat Birchall
– a musician who was way ahead of the curve towards spiritual jazz that others have hit in recent years, and one who still does it better than anyone else! The title gives away only part of the story – as Nat
's definitely paying tribute to the great Yusef Lateef, particularly the mix of soulful jazz and exoticism in his earlier work – but the overall execution is very much in the best Birchall
mode – long-building tracks, really informed by a strong tradition of spiritual energy, and not just in musical form – as the leader blows tenor, soprano, bass clarinet, and handles a range of instruments from around the globe – in the company of Michael Bardon on bass, Andy Hay on drums and percussion, and either Adam Fairhall or John Ellis on piano, depending on the track. A few of the tunes are classics from the vintage Lateef songbook, and Birchall
has also seamlessly contributed a few numbers of his own – making for a fantastic double-length set, with titles that include "Tales Of Saba", "Ching Miau", "Salaam Brother Yusef", "Inward Flight", "Brother John", "Not Yet Ornette", "Ringo Oiwake", and "Mashariki" – plus a great version of "Love Theme From Spartacus", a tune that Lateef made his own back in the 60s, with a fantastic reading that's gone on to inspire many.