Tuesday, March 09, 2004


Back to the jazz.

Rather than try to give you an overview of the complex career of the amazing Yusef Lateef, I'm posting a brief selection of my favorite mellower songs.

Please bear in mind that this material is by no means indicative of the broad scope of music that Yusef has made: bop, rnb, new age, experimental, cool jazz and whole new categories that he himself has created are just the tip of the iceberg. These are only a few simple tracks; deceptively simple in fact, accessible and clean cuts that should give you a chance to get your foot in the genius' door.

Let's go dip our toe into the warmer waters of Yusef Lateef.


Yusef Lateef - "The Plum Blossom"

Love comes on tiptoe. Gentle and kind.

Yusef's flute is steady but fragile and explores the sounds with a newness that suggests birth.

Yusef's official site
Both this and the next track can be found on "Every Village Has a Song: The Best of Yusef Lateef" available direct from Rhino, which is a great box set filled with wonderful music drawn from throughout his career.


Yusef Lateef - "Love Theme From Spartacus"

Yes, THAT Spartacus.

Yusef weaves something sweet and drunk here on the oboe that makes me wish I had tried one last kiss instead of leaving.

Gorgeous waltzing music.

"His discography is as long and strong as Shaq’s right arm."
An appreciation of Yusef from a Detroit weekly.
Both this and the prior track are also available on "Eastern Sounds" available direct from Fantasy Jazz Records.


Yusef Lateef - "Strange Lullaby"

This sleepy little tune intersperses snoring, barks, squeals and angry halfasleep grunts amidst a sea of schmaltz. The effect is surprising: the schmaltz is tempered down and the background noise is endearing.

Yusef is prone to fits of fancy but they generally pay off.

"Life itself is an interesting thing, Fred. Life included thinking and it is such a pleasure to think of new ways to do things and to express yourself."
An interview with Yusef.
The All-Music Guide overview of Yusef


Yusef Lateef - "Big Bass Drum"

We were talking about fits of fancy? This is what happens when you mash Orbital's "Time Becomes A Loop" and Leadbelly.

Purely fun acapella temporal pique of silliness that pays off.

This and the previous track are from Yusef's fascinating concept album, "Part of the Search", available from Amazon.
The entire album is Yusef changing channels on a mental radio and playing the parts of the different stations.
Savory stuff and Lateef eats it up with a spoon.
This album and "Eastern Sounds" would be a good place for an aspiring fan to start.


Tomorrow we'll peek in on another offbeat jazzman and look at some of the later works of Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Bring a friend. Bring two, that's if you're 'bout it.


(in the move from IE to Mozilla, credits for all these links were lost. Sorry if I'm hijacking your link.)

Tupperwhore is a collaborative exercise in attempting to "do a nasty and ugly design. You must do the worst as you can".
Badly overused graphic design never looked so ironic.
Immortal is Enki Bilal's new film. American distribution please?
The Royal Journal of Found Art
Kaiju Big Battel!
Ever wondered what was upstairs at Graceland?
Skateboarding for REALLY poor people
This is sad.
The Double Black Album is scuttled before it gets too far off the ground.
Too bad; the samples were kinda promising. Undoubtedly it'll be hosted somewhere and spread like wildfire.
Swan in sixty seconds.
Step 4: PROFIT!
The moral of this story is?
The great thing about the internet is that there's always someone who'll do your research for you. The Yeti and Pingu Page only took about a month and a half to show up. Comes complete with all the versions. OK? WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!
But no one wants the old hotness.
Check out the newest in flash crack: Atomic Pongling.
My high score is 202.
Hello boss?
Yes, I'm sorry, I just wanted to let you know I'll probably not gonna be able to come into work.
I feel a cold coming on.
In October.
For about three months.
"US deaths since Pres. Bush announces, 'Bring Them On': 348"
Beautifully creepy movie: "The Cat With Hands"
Todd Weinstein's 36 Unknown plays off of the Talmudic story of the complete tzaddikim. Who, I wonder, are our generations thirtysix?
Have we seen them yet? Have we lost them already?


In the discussion over the appropriation and popularity of the word "nigger" and its corollary "nigga" by hip hop culture, I'm surprised no one has stated the obvious: nigga shows up in rap music primarily because of it's staccato rimshot rhythm. It's generally used to fill in or end verses with a quick "tah-tah" beat. The lack of sharpness of the "r" on "nigger" is undoubtedly part of the reason why that form of the word gets such little play.

The edge of "nigga" is being honed as of late; I hardly ever hear "nigger", but there's a lot of "nikka". So if "nigga" is edging towards acceptability in cross culture/race conversation, will there be any need for restraint in the use of the next permutation... say, "nikka"?

With Dave Chapelle playing semiotic russian roulette on the nightly over at Comedy Central, I wonder how long it will be before some bastardization like "nikka" slips into mainstream dialogue. You can see a parallel in "queer". Stonewall to primetime in thirty years, mostly by virtue of being in (no pun intended) the public eye.

Shit, we got CEO's calling each other "dawg" already. Just a matter of time.
NYTimes Filter:
Two beautiful women in dangerous times:
Tabitha and Madina.
These are long articles but well worth your time.
Because nearly all downloads are major-label hits, the effect of downloading on independent labels is an open-ended question. Strumpf says the people he's talked to at indie labels have wildly diverging viewpoints. Some think file sharing will prove to be the panacea for distribution and marketing, while others think it's the kiss of death because their profit margins are so narrow to begin with.
Dude, it's the equivalent of free radio airplay.
We ARE the media. We ARE the massage. We ARE the market. There IS no spoon.
Traffic is stock still at the gates of the Hut, but I'm giving props to those who have seen the Tofu Way.
Big ups to:
Fit to be Tied, who quotes Derrida and likes prettyboys; zerogweb, the new musicblog on the block that's turned me on to some new clouddead, underworld and metric tracks (thanks!); zero interrupt (great use of Weegee!); exterminate all rational thought (great use of Burroughs!); Serenity Now (great use of... what is that, Finnish?); Selector de Frecuencias and bodymap.

You are, one and all, roundly appreciated.

Now what have YOU done for me lately?