On Recording for Major vs. Independent Labels



Yusef Lateef

The leading questions that guide YAL Records came into focus as the indeterminism and bifurcations (I&B) model, which took shape about ten years ago. A look at recent music history in the United States may be helpful in placing these questions in context. Needless to say, these remarks are a selective game plan, and benefit from hindsight.

Early African American Music faced two immediate problems: to find a way to account for the phenomena of the music ("descriptive adequacy"), and to explain how knowledge of these morphic facts arises in the mind of the player-hearer ("explanatory adequacy"). Through it was scarcely recognized at its inception, this intellectual and spiritual journey embraced the corners of a rich tradition of Autophysiopsychic music, of which perhaps the last major representative was the late John Coltrane.

Coltrane recognized that the structures of music "come into existence in the mind of a musician" by abstraction from experience while living, ultimately, yielding notions which guided him in framing music distinctly his own.

I say this to say that the music in the catalogue of YAL Records is crucially "free expressions" that are typically new to the player and hearer. You can take these properties of sound to set the primary goals of artistic theory: to spell out vehemently a "notion of structure" and the procedure by which it yields "free expressions," and to explain how it arises in the mind of the musician—the mysteries of descriptive and explanatory adequacy, respectively.