The jazz pianist only recorded two albums, the second of which was long believed to be lost. Now, the rediscovery of Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Session is cause for renewed celebration.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The late Philadelphia pianist and composer Hasaan Ibn Ali recorded only two albums. The first was a celebrated 1964 session titled “The Max Roach Trio Featuring The Legendary Hasaan.” The following year, he recorded a quartet date that went unreleased and was long believed lost. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says its rediscovery is cause for renewed celebration.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Jazz folk can be quick to compare any eccentric composer pianist to Thelonious Monk. With Hasaan Ibn Ali, the comparison is less misplaced than usual. His compositions and his quartet’s rhythm have a similarly jaunty quality. But Hasaan doesn’t sound like Monk at the piano. His solos have their own hectic quality, with lots of busy runs near the top of the keyboard.

(SOUNDBITE OF HASAAN IBN ALI’S “ATLANTIC ONES”)

WHITEHEAD: That’s from the tune “Atlantic Ones” from pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali’s newly unearthed 1965 album “Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Session,” (ph) now out on Omnivore.
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