Yusef Lateef | Nicolas Humbert | Marc Parisotto | Roots Run Deep | RogueArt Jazz

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Yusef Lateef: piano, tenor saxophone, flute, spoken words | Nicolas Humbert: composition, recording | Marc Parisotto: compositions, mixing

ROOTS RUN DEEP is a work conceived by Nicolas Humbert and Marc Parisotto based on the original readings and improvisations by Yusef Lateef.

The stories “Cream Puff”, “Where is Lester”, “Goodbye” and “Interior Monologue” are published in the book “Spheres – Stories by Yusef Lateef”, Fana Publishing Company, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1976. They are reproduced here in the booklet.

Music and spoken words were recorded in Amherst, MA, USA on March 2004 by Nicolas Humbert and August 2004 by Martin Seeliger respectively. Arranged and mixed between July 2010 and July 2011 by Marc Parisotto. Mastering: Christian Höck, Telstar Studio. Liner notes: Karl Lippegaus. Additional texts: Nicolas Humbert, Marc Parisotto. Photographs: Werner Penzel (from the film “Brother Yusef”), Nicolas Humbert, Simone Fürbringer. Cover design: Max Schoendorff. Cover realization: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producer: Michel Dorbon

Tracklist: 1. Roots Run Deep I (4:49) 2. Cream Puff (2:20) 3. Where is Lester (5:04) 4. Motherless Child (5:32) 5. Goodbye (7:26) 6. Interior Monologue (3:08) 7. Roots Run Deep II (6:13)

All compositions and words by Yusef Lateef except 4, traditional

Yusef Lateef | Nicolas Humbert | Marc Parisotto | Roots Run Deep | rogueart jazz

Nicolas Humbert and his co-author Marc Parisotto

decided to make a further montage of the readings and songs for the album “Roots Run Deep”. There are short stories and poems set to music, beautifully interwoven with the music Yusef Lateef had played during the shooting of the film “Brother Yusef”. “I return as in a dream of a great American musician” says the old man in a great passage about Lester Young, as sounds and words melt into one song, drawing us closer to the aura of a great jazz era that he himself still incorporates. A true survivor whose roots run very deep indeed. “I’m always making sure that these sounds are coming from the core of my heart.” — Karl Lippegaus, excerpt from the liner notes

There was something magical

about the recording sessions with Yusef Lateef. We’d agreed to record every afternoon at his home for a week. We could already hear his saxophone in the distance as we approached his house in the woods. Even as we unpacked our gear, Brother Yusef didn’t interrupt his playing. It was a form of immersion, which he never left in the hours that followed. His playing was a long prayer. — Nicolas Humbert, excerpt from a short text written for the booklet.


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One thought on “Yusef Lateef | Nicolas Humbert | Marc Parisotto | Roots Run Deep | RogueArt Jazz

  1. Roots Run Deep forms a further installment in the ongoing strand of investigation into the marriage of words and music, which has found a home on the Paris-based Rogue Art label, that also includes Maison Hantee (2009). It’s unusual in that though issued under the name of veteran multi instrumentalist Yusef Lateef, the work was actually conceived by filmmaker Nicolas Humbert and engineer Marc Parisotto. The two Frenchmen are credited with composition; having assembled the 34-minute program by matching the American’s separately captured instrumental improvisations to recitations of his idiosyncratic stories.

    Humbert was in part responsible for the 2005 film Brother Yusef. During filming, he recorded the American each afternoon at his home for a week. Lateef would be playing when they arrived and didn’t interrupt his flow as they set up their gear. In the liners, Humbert likens his output to a long prayer or a sonorous river channeling its course. On tenor saxophone, Lateef phrases conversationally in a dry, vibrato-less tone. While on piano, his occasionally discordant chords roll pleasingly on. Indeed, there is both a devotional and elemental feel to the music, like water drawn from an ancient but bottomless well.

    The texts derive from a book of Lateef’s short stories published in 1976 but with slightly halting readings recorded in 2004. Two renditions of the title track bookend the album, with Lateef’s husky soulful singing accompanied by his spare piano. The first three cuts, including an explanation of Lateef’s constrained practice regime (“Cream Puff”), and an account of a surreal dream in Harlem inhabited by saxophonist Lester Young (“Where Is Lester”), are self contained. But, from the traditional “Motherless Child” onwards, the music runs across the track boundaries linking the separate pieces into a suite.

    Words and music mesh together in a synergy which means that the sum is greater than its pleasant, but unexceptional, parts. Typically high Rogue Art production values ensure that sleeve contains a booklet including stills from the film, all the texts used and information on the background to the project, as well as a potted biography of the American. While creating an intoxicating and dreamlike atmosphere, the work is likely to appeal most to those with an active interest in the symbiosis of word and music.

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