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Yusef Lateef

Yusef Lateef long had an inquisitive spirit and he was never just a bop or hard bop soloist. Lateef, who did not care much for the term "jazz," consistently created music that stretched (and even broke through) boundaries. A superior tenor saxophonist with a soulful sound and impressive technique, by the 1950s Lateef was one of the top flutists around. He also developed into the best jazz soloist to date on oboe, was an occasional bassoonist, and introduced such instruments as the argol (a double clarinet that resembles a bassoon), shanai (a type of oboe), and different types of flutes. Lateef played "world music" before it had a name and his output was much more creative than much of the pop and folk music that passed under that label in the '90s.

Yusef Lateef grew up in Detroit and began on tenor when he was 17. He played with Lucky Millinder (1946), Hot Lips Page, Roy Eldridge, and Dizzy Gillespie's big band (1949-1950). He was a fixture on the Detroit jazz scene of the '50s where he studied flute at Wayne State University. Lateef began recording as a leader in 1955 for Savoy (and later Riverside and Prestige) although he did not move to New York until 1959. By then he already had a strong reputation for his versatility and for his willingness to utilize "miscellaneous instruments." Lateef played with Charles Mingus in 1960, gigged with Donald Byrd, and was well-featured with the Cannonball Adderley Sextet (1962-1964). As a leader, his string of Impulse! recordings (1963-1966) was among the finest of his career, although Lateef's varied Atlantic sessions (1967-1976) also had some strong moments. He spent some time in the '80s teaching in Nigeria.

His Atlantic records of the late '80s were closer to mood music (or new age) than jazz, but in the '90s (for his own YAL label) Lateef recorded a wide variety of music (all originals) including some strong improvised music with the likes of Ricky Ford, Archie Shepp, and Von Freeman. Lateef remained active as a composer, improviser, and educator (teaching at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) into the 21st century, performing and recording as a leader and collaborator on such noteworthy recordings as Towards the Unknown with composer/percussionist Adam Rudolph (released in 2010, the same year Lateef was recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts). Yusef Lateef died at his home in Shutesbury, Massachusetts in December 2013; he was 93 years old. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

poppa_bear49
...one word BLESSED!!
he did his job on earth, Greatfully, he was given a gift from up high, and he spreaded it to us here he left on earth. I love him, God did too!
I have always liked this guy, fabulous energy
I was preveledge to see YL several times including his performance at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco when he was 92. He indeed was a jass master
He's great!
Who is on piano on Nubian ...?
World music ,before it had a name ? Played a myriad of instruments in the family of the sax. I like his work with Cannonball .
Boys High Brooklyn, Hey out there, what was the school address ? I lived on Gates ave. at Grand ave. 45 years or more ago....
linksgayaren a
From the Fleetwood why we to jazz
eerie and lovely sound. It tingles the spirit
R.I.P YUSEY LETEEF
Try The Blue Yusef Lateef on Atlantic, 1968
Good
Rest in peace brother,a great musician.
timeless and unparalled
r2weq
Like it is
Summer of '70, first love, Lateef's blues, Greek town, Belle Isle, heading down the Lodge freeway, hashish and philosophy, she tasted of green apples...
clarence_shi e l d s
Burning Spear.....Nu f f Said!!!!!
Very soulful beat, to bad I don't have a joint right now. Just kidding
very smooth brother
As A fellow Detroiter, my heros as a kid, were Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Yusef Lateef, And Elvin Jones.
Didn't know Yusef played the flute as well as sax...nice!!
Yusef is actually my blood relative.... I didn't think he had a radio playlist on here.....
this man is the greatest musician to come from out of detroiit since mr. walker smith.... the sweetest, mr. sugar ray robinson. love theme from spartucus still makes tears fall from eyes....what ? u aint seen it? may curt douglass pay u a dreeam deffered, an sugar knock yo a** out. chango
Really cool man. I dig it
rusimms
I finally found my old favorite "Detroit" and ordered it from Amazon!
so glad to be in the company of tasteful music lovers. never really dug into yusef but no yime like the present
srijozus2
I have loved his music for a long time. It's nice to hear it on Pandora radio.
john43jenkin s
His out of circulation album "At the Cranbrook" is outa sight. Too bad no one recorded it to CD.
very good ax plyin'
Used to listen to a vinyl in the 70's called 'Detroit'. Played it to death (literally)
joy_n_lord
Yusef Lateef was simply a GIANT of JAZZ!!!!!!!
TonyP
WHAT? no '1984'?????
Try Yusef's, "Sister Mamie" Live@Peps
if you REALLY want to trip!
I am loving how chilled and relaxed Lateef Minor 7th is! Yeeeeesssss. . . .
I had a Yuseff Lateef vinyl album that I believe he recorded in the 80's. Where can I find a comprehensiv e listing of his recorded music? I played that album a whole lot.
I am amazed at the musical education I acquire through Pandora biographies and some of the listener comments. ...And Nubian Lady on Atlantiquity really sounds like it's about a fabulous nubian woman. Amazing.
WHAT ABOUT THE ALBUM "GENTLE GIANT" ? WHICH I BELIEVE TO BE ONE OF YUSEF'S BEST!
SUITE 16 was reissued in 2004, it may have originally issued c.1976, or so.
It is also the first time guitarist Earl Klugh, who was 16, ever recorded.
"Brother Lateef" as Cannonball Adderly called him during a recording.

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