Yusef Lateef
Adam Rudolph

META 011 - 2010

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ADAM RUDOLPH (2009) “Concerto for Brother Yusef “

Yusef Lateef – tenor saxophone, c flute, umtshingo flute, handiphone, pheumatic bamboo flute, vocal, and poetry
Adam Rudolph - sintir, frame drum, udu drum, cup gongs, bass drum, overtone pipe, electronic keyboards
Go: Organic Orchestra Strings - arrangements and improvised conducting by Adam Rudolph

First Train 1:29
Southside 5:29
Reflections 7:15
Mysterious Affinities 1:49
Six Trees 2:32
A Better Day 3:27

YUSEF LATEEF (2009) “Percussion Concerto (for Adam Rudolph)”

Adam Rudolph - handrumset (kongos, djembe, tarijas, zabumba), kongo slit drum, baganda xylophone, gongs and cup gongs, tibetan bells, cymbals, percussion
Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, conducted by Petr Kotik

First Movement 19:49
Second Movement 5:49

Go: Organic Orchestra Strings
Arrangements and improvised conducting by Adam Rudolph
Violins - Sarah Bernstein, Charles Burnham, Trina Basu Mark Chung, Elektra Kurtis, Skye Steele, Midori Yamamoto Violas - Stephanie Griffin, Jason Hwang Cellos - Greg Hefferman, Daniel Levin

Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble Petr Kotik, Conductor

Roberta Michel, flute James Roe, oboe Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet Erik Holtje, bassoon Tim McCarthy, horn Thomas Verchot, trumpet David Nelson, trombone Joseph Kubera, piano Conrad Harris, violin 1 Lynn Bechtold, violin 2 David Gold, viola Aron Zelkowicz, cello Troy Rinker, contrabass

“Percussion Concerto (for Adam Rudolph)” composed by Yusef Lateef (Alnur Music BMI)
“Concerto for Brother Yusef “ composed by Adam Rudolph (Migration Music BMI)
A Better Day - “Springfield Program Rewards Good Works” poem by Yusef Lateef (Alnur Music BMI)

Produced by Yusef Lateef and Adam Rudolph

Design by Sylvan Leroux
Cover photo by Adam Rudolph
Artist photos by Kádár Levente
Thanks to: Tom Buckner, Gladys Serrano, Bill Laswell, Petr Kotik, Jim Staley & Roulette staff

Recorded September 17, 2009 at Roulette Intermedium, NYC by Matthew Mehlan and Stephen Cooper
Additional recording, mix and mastering by James Dellatacoma at Orange Music Sound Studio, New Jersey

A smile to remember!
Yours is a smile to remember.
Many have said that they remember your smile – of which I am one of those.
Of course, it was God who created you,
in that He has created all things of Beauty


© Meta Records and YAL Records 2010

Great improvisers can create scintillating music in any situation or setting. But as Adam Rudolph can attest, the ability to transcend music and achieve something truly profound requires a sort of mysterious chemistry that comes along in precious few instances over the course of a musician’s lifetime. “We can’t underestimate the element of alchemy,” Rudolph says.

On Towards the Unknown, one of two new releases on his own Meta Records label, the master percussionist celebrates his long musical relationship with the legendary saxophonist Yusef Lateef (the second release, Yeyi, features another longtime collaborator, multi-instrumentalist Ralph Jones). The string section from Rudolph’s Go: Organic Orchestra is woven into a concerto conceived for the duo; Rudolph is then featured in a second concerto, composed for him by Lateef and featuring thirteen members of the S.E.M. Ensemble conducted by Czech composer Petr Kotik.

With a career spanning more than sixty years, Lateef is widely renowned as an innovator in many forms of creative music. The two first worked together in 1988, when Lateef invited Rudolph’s Eternal Wind quartet to perform with him, sparking a fruitful collaboration that has now evolved over more than two decades. “I feel the most complete sense of understanding with Yusef,” Rudolph says, “which means that we have a profound kind of freedom. We understand each other on a creative level and on a philosophical level. I like to work with musicians who understand what I’m doing, not just musically but metaphorically.”

Released to celebrate NEA Jazz Master Lateef’s 90th birthday year, Towards the Unknown showcases the deep understanding forged by Rudolph and Lateef through concertos that each composed for the other in very different ways but with equally evocative results. Lateef’s “Concerto for Percussion” provides a dense, tension-filled score meant to serve as a launching pad for Rudolph’s improvisations.

Throughout the work’s two movements, Rudolph engages the chamber orchestra in a lively conversation full of varied colors and surprising digressions. “Yusef wrote this piece for me as a point of inspiration,” Rudolph explains. “It’s an invitation to delve into something deeper and to respond to what I heard. It’s like dialoguing with Yusef, but his expression is the colors of the orchestra rather than him playing at that moment. I didn’t want to break through and cover up the beauty of the orchestration, but he wanted that idea of several different realities happening at once.”

On the night of the concerto’s world premiere, Lateef was scheduled to read a few of his poems accompanied by Rudolph’s percussion. That reading turned into a lengthy and typically entrancing duo improvisation which now serves as the raw material for Rudolph’s “Concerto for Brother Yusef.” One of those poems, the yearning “Springfield Program Rewards Good Works,” survives in the final movement, “A Better Day”, while the opening piece, “First Train”, contains an improvised primal blues sung by Lateef and inspired by Rudolph’s sintir.

A tapestry intertwining that duo material with the eleven strings from Rudolph’s Go: Organic Orchestra, conducted via cued improvisational concepts, the concerto is thus something of a collage of spontaneous elements. “There are a lot of reasons that are inexplicable and mystical about why my orchestration works with Yusef,” Rudolph says. “It has to do with breath and timing and knowledge, but it’s also the manifestation of this long-term musical and creative exchange that we’ve had over the last 21 years.”

Returning to the subject of that sonic alchemy that this recording so amply demonstrate, Rudolph likens the discovery of a musical soulmate to a romantic one. “You could list of reasons why you marry someone, but it comes down to a feeling. It’s something that you know from the get-go but also something that develops over time. Ultimately it’s a mystery.”

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