YUSEF LATEEF — Psychicemotus (review)

YUSEF LATEEF — Psychicemotus album cover Album · 1965 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Sean Trane
Between Yusef’s better known Prestige label era (where he recorded his most famous Eastern Sounds) era and his next Atlantic label days, Lateef spend a couple of years on the seminal Impulse label, and the present Psychicemotus is (I believe) his second last for the orange house. Released in 66, the album was recorded in the summer of 65 with the inevitable Reggie Workman on bass and more importantly Franco-Greek pianist Georges Arvanitas

The opening title track is a very interesting modal piece that can recall Trane’s Africa/Brass album with some Sun Ra-like percussions that give it a slightly dissonant flavour courtesy of Arvanitas’ piano. Bamboo Flute is (as you’ll guess) a slow blues with a bamboo flute. Logical enough, uh?? Semiocto is definitely more Trane-ian, and has Yusef going wild on his sax, while dummer Black solos briefly.

On the flipside, the jazzified Satie piece Gymnopédie features some quiet flute over gentle piano. The following Medula Sonata sounds like Yusef also listened to Debussy or Sibelius. Arvanitas’ piano dominates the closing reprise Ain’t Misbehaving.

While the present album has excellent moments, compared to what else was going on the Impulse label, Yusef’s album might not merit the “!’ on the label logo on the front sleeve. Indeed, the “New Thing” appears only as a “thingette”.
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