Rahsaan Roland Kirk/Yusef Lateef: Separate but Equal

This two-CD set combines Kirk’s The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color, recorded in 1975, and Lateef’s Part of the Search, recorded in ’71 and ’73. The premise is that in the early ’70s producer Joel Dorn wanted to get the two saxophonists and flutists together for an album, but it never happened. Lateef’s album, with several swinging big band performances, is the more satisfying effort. Kirk’s album is inconsistent. The best tracks are an amusing “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” (in which he plays both Miles-like trumpet and Coltrane-like tenor) and a slow, bluesy “The Entertainer.” Each album contains short but distracting dream-like sequences between the main musical tracks. Too bad the Kirk-Lateef collaboration didn’t materialize 25 years ago. We might have had more for our money than this contrived marketing scheme.