Roots Run Deep

  • Roots Run Deep
  • Roots Run Deep
  • Roots Run Deep
  • Roots Run Deep
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". They are reproduced here in the CD booklet. The complete book, "Spheres," is available here.

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 the liner notes.

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

One usually knows a musician from his or her instrumental or compositional work. One gets close to the actual "voice" of the musician is if he/she is a singer, but there's something about the spoken voice, whether in an interview, a poem recitation or story telling, that lets through a very intimate aspect of the artist that is as revealing, if not at times more so, than the purely musical offering. Roots Run Deep, which combines Lateef's artistry on piano, saxophone and flute, with some poetic chants and short stories is one such very intimate portrait.

Our first glimpse in this portrait of the groundbreaking Lateef — a musician with a unique compositional language — is through his voice, which is vulnerable yet deep and strong. This happens with a simple yet touching chant that runs with the words "I see the tree/and the tree sees me," accompanied by Lateef's piano.

Producers Nicolas Humbert and Marc Parisotto point put that what they tried to do was splice the spoken word and the music, which were recorded on separate occasions, an idea they had after completing a documentary film on Lateef.

The stories titled "Cream Puff" and "Where is Lester" give us insights into the private life of the musician, his practice habits, aspirations and imagination involved in the daily work. Another story, called "Goodbye," is a touching third person observation of a funeral that is worthy of a James Baldwin in its incisive imagery and understated yet charged emotional content. The chants on the disc include "Motherless Child," which Lateef intones mournfully, with a resonant piano chord accompaniment.

The pieces with saxophone accompaniment recall the work of Jack Kerouac with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, the casual poetry of American vernacular running in a nicely textured counterpoint to the saxophone, as in "Interior Monologue," which is a reflection on a slice of life moment and a meditation on death.

Poems, stories, music are all one here and flow together seamlessly providing an unusual insight into a great musician's poetics and personality.

- Paul Serralheiro,

Please note: we have only a limited quantity of this CD.

Add to Cart:

Roots Run Deep


Related Works: