Yusef Lateef – Eastern Sounds: OJC Series (180g Vinyl LP)


Original Jazz Classic Series Reissue of Yusef Lateef’s Eastern Sounds on 180g LP. Cut from the Original Master Tapes (AAA) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and Pressed at RTI.

Craft Recordings announces the relaunch of Original Jazz Classics – the acclaimed reissue series that faithfully presented more than 850 memorable jazz albums over three decades. This reissue of jazz multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef’s Eastern Sounds has been cut from the original master tapes (AAA) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, pressed on 180-gram vinyl LP at RTI and is housed in a replica of its original tip-on jacket.

First launched in 1982 under Fantasy Records, the imprint served as a home for the label’s impressive jazz catalog – which had grown to include thousands of celebrated titles from Prestige, Galaxy, Milestone, Riverside, Debut, Contemporary, Jazzland, and Pablo. Fantasy also had its own place in jazz history, beginning in 1949 with its very first signing, Dave Brubeck. The Bay Area label was also home to the likes of Cal Tjader, Gerry Mulligan, and Vince Guaraldi. In the ’80s and ’90s, Original Jazz Classics became the go-to imprint for jazz reissues on vinyl, CD and cassette. Its extensive catalog not only boasted some of the most important albums ever recorded, but also long-out-of-print favorites – all of which featured original cover art and liner notes, as well as superior audio. Original OJC vinyl pressings are still praised and much sought after by jazz fans and audiophiles alike, who have gone to great lengths to document and share how to find the best-sounding pressings. However, with the relaunch of Original Jazz Classics, there is no need to search any longer.

Yusef Lateef was a musical explorer and lifelong student, who set himself apart from his contemporaries by mastering new instruments and studying the sounds of other cultures. Once described by the New York Times as “play[ing] world music before world music had a name,” the innovative artist first recorded as a leader in 1957. That same year, he began incorporating elements of Eastern music into his work.

1961’s Eastern Sounds, which marked Lateef’s sixteenth album, skillfully fuses influences of Middle Eastern and Asian music with the popular hard-bop sounds of the day. Exploratory yet highly accessible to mainstream audiences, the album offers an array of unique musical textures. In a testament to his talent, Lateef can be heard performing the tenor saxophone, oboe, flute and a Chinese xun (an ancient globular flute). Accompanying him is pianist Barry Harris, drummer Lex Humphries and bassist Ernie Farrow, who also performs the rubab – an Afghani lute-like instrument.

Spanning a variety of moods, Eastern Sounds is comprised primarily of engaging originals, including opener “The Plum Blossom,” “Blues for the Orient” and the intriguing closing track, “The Three Faces of Balal.” The group also delivers inspired renditions of Hollywood classics “Love Theme from Spartacus” (Alex North) and “Love Theme from The Robe” (Alfred Newman), as well as the Jimmy McHugh standard “Don’t Blame Me.”

Yusef Lateef, tenor saxophone, flute & oboe
Barry Harris, piano
Ernie Rabab, double bass & rabab
Lex Humphries, drums

  1. The Plum Blossom
  2. Blues for the Orient
  3. Chinq Miau
  4. Don’t Blame Me
  5. Love Theme from Spartacus
  6. Snafu
  7. Purple Flower
  8. Love Theme from The Robe
  9. The Three Faces of Balal

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