Personnel: Yusef Lateef, Ron Carter, Hugh Lawson, Herman Wright, Lex Humphries.
Recorded in May 1960.
Yusef Lateef is one of jazz's most fascinating instrumentalists. His experiments with flute and particularly oboe and bassoon have made Lateef much more than just another fine tenor saxophonist. On this 1960 release (produced by Orrin Keepnews), we hear the many sides to Lateef's musical personality. Indeed, the title undoubtedly refers to Lateef's interest in sax, flute and oboe respectively. Given this, track one, "Goin' Home" is a medium-tempo swing that highlights Lateef's refined, smoky tenor sound. However, on the next track, Lateef switches to oboe, navigating his way through Duke Ellington's bluesy chart, "I'm Just a Lucky So and So." Other tunes such as "Lateef's Minor 7th" and "Adoration" feature Lateef's soaring flute chops.
In general, the music on THE THREE FACES OF YUSEF LATEEF showcases the reed man's straight-ahead jazz skill as well his penchant for experimental composition. The latter is best epitomized by the semi-classical piece, "From Within" written by Lateef himself and featuring pianist Hugh Lawson on celeste, drummer Lex Humphries on timpani, and bassist Ron Carter on cello.