Lateef in a 2007 performance
|Birth name||William Emanuel Huddleston|
|Also known as||Yusef Lateef|
October 9, 1920 |
|Genres||New Age music, jazz, post-bop, jazz fusion, swing, hard bop, third stream, autophysiopsychic music, world music|
|Occupations||Musician, composer, educator, spokesman, author|
|Instruments||Tenor saxophone, flute, oboe, bassoon, bamboo flute, shehnai, shofar, arghul, koto|
|Years active||1957 – present|
|Labels||Savoy, Prestige, Verve, Riverside, Impulse, Atlantic, CTI, YAL Records|
|Associated acts||Cannonball Adderley, Elvin Jones, Adam Rudolph, Dizzy Gillespie, Curtis Fuller, Grant Green, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer|
Yusef Lateef (born William Emanuel Huddleston, October 9, 1920) is an American Grammy Award-winning jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator and a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community after his conversion to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam in 1950.
Although Lateef's main instruments are the tenor saxophone and flute, he also plays oboe and bassoon, both rare in jazz, and also uses a number of world music instruments, notably the bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, Xun, arghul, sarewa, and koto. He is known for his innovative blending of jazz with "Eastern" music.
Early life and career
Lateef was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His family moved, in 1923, to Lorain, Ohio and again in 1925, to Detroit, Michigan, where his father changed the family's name to "Evans". The saxophonist used the stage name Bill Evans professionally until 1950, when he legally changed it to Yusef Abdul Lateef.
Throughout his early life Lateef came into contact with many Detroit-based jazz musicians who went on to gain prominence, including vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Elvin Jones, and guitarist Kenny Burrell. Lateef was a proficient saxophonist by the time of his graduation from high school at the age of 18, when he launched his professional career and began touring with a number of swing bands.
In 1949, he was invited by Dizzy Gillespie to tour with his orchestra. In 1950, Lateef returned to Detroit and began his studies in composition and flute at Wayne State University. It was during this period that he converted to Islam as a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Lateef began recording as a leader in 1957 for Savoy Records, a non-exclusive association which continued until 1959; the earliest of Lateef's album's for the Prestige subsidiary New Jazz overlap with them. Musicians such as Wilbur Harden and Hugh Lawson were among his collaborators during this period.
By 1961, with the recording of Into Something and Eastern Sounds, Lateef's dominant presence within a group context had emerged. His 'Eastern' influences are clearly audible in all of these recordings, with spots for instruments like the rahab, shanai, arghul, koto and a collection of Chinese wooden flutes and bells along with his tenor and flute. Even his use of the western oboe sounds exotic in this context; it is not a standard jazz instrument. Indeed the tunes themselves are a mixture of jazz standards, blues and film music usually performed with a piano/bass/drums rhythm section in support. Along with trumpeter Don Cherry, Lateef can lay claim to being among the first exponents of the world music as subgenres of jazz. Lateef also made numerous contributions to other people's albums including his time as a member of saxophonist Cannonball Adderley's Quintet during 1962–64.
Lateef's sound has been claimed to have been a major influence on the saxophonist John Coltrane, whose later period free jazz recordings contain similarly 'Eastern' traits. For a time (1963–66) Lateef was signed to Coltrane's label, Impulse. He had a regular working group during this period, with trumpeter Richard Williams and Mike Nock on piano. They enjoyed a residency at Pep's Lounge during June 1964; an evening of which was issued across several albums.
Lateef has expressed a dislike of the terms "jazz" and "jazz musician" as musical generalizations. As is so often the case with such generalizations, the use of these terms do understate the breadth of his sound. For example, in the 1980s, Lateef experimented with new age and spiritual elements. His 1987 album Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. His core influences, however, are clearly rooted in jazz, and in his own words: "My music is jazz."
In 1992, Lateef founded YAL Records, his own label for which he records today. In 1993, Lateef was commissioned by the WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne to compose The African American Epic Suite, a four-part work for orchestra and quartet based on themes of slavery and disfranchisement in the United States. The piece has since been performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Education and teaching
In 1960, Lateef again returned to school, studying flute at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Music in 1969 and a Master's Degree in Music Education in 1970. Starting in 1971, he taught courses in autophysiopsychic music at the Manhattan School of Music, and he became an associate professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in 1972.
In the early 1980s Lateef was a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Nigerian Cultural Studies at Ahmadu Bello University in the city of Zaria, Nigeria. Returning to the US in 1986 he took teaching positions at the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College. Presently, he continues to teach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Hampshire College in western Massachusetts.
Lateef has written and published a number of books including two novellas entitled A Night in the Garden of Love and Another Avenue, the short story collections Spheres and Rain Shapes, also his autobiography, The Gentle Giant, written in collaboration with Herb Boyd.
Along with his record label YAL Records, Lateef owns Fana Music, a music publishing company. Lateef publishes his own work through Fana, which includes Yusef Lateef's Flute Book of the Blues and many of his own orchestral compositions.
Autophysiopsychic Music, Lateef's term, refers to music which comes from one's physical, mental, and spiritual self. Lateef has written extensively on the topic and includes it in his book Method To Perform Autophysiopsychic Music. In this view, it should be the goal of every musician to combine their theoretical knowledge with their life experience, and to offer to and accept knowledge from their personal source of strength, inspiration and knowledge.
Awards and honors
National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters is the highest honor given in Jazz established in 1982.
- Jazz for the Thinker (Savoy, 1957)
- Jazz Mood (Savoy, 1957)
- Before Dawn: The Music of Yusef Lateef (Verve, 1957)
- Jazz and the Sounds of Nature (Savoy, 1957)
- Prayer to the East (Savoy, 1957)
- The Sounds of Yusef (Prestige, 1957)
- Other Sounds (New Jazz, 1957)
- Lateef at Cranbrook (Argo, 1958)
- The Dreamer (Savoy, 1959)
- The Fabric of Jazz (Savoy, 1959)
- Cry! - Tender (New Jazz, 1959)
- The Three Faces of Yusef Lateef (Riverside, 1960)
- The Centaur and the Phoenix (Riverside, 1960)
- Lost in Sound (Charlie Parker, 1961)
- Eastern Sounds (Moodsville, 1961)
- Into Something (New Jazz, 1961)
- Jazz 'Round the World (Impulse!, 1963)
- Live at Pep's (Impulse!, 1964)
- 1984 (Impulse!, 1965)
- Psychicemotus (Impulse!, 1965)
- A Flat, G Flat and C (Impulse!, 1966)
- The Golden Flute (Impulse!, 1966)
- The Complete Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1967)
- The Blue Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1968)
- Yusef Lateef's Detroit (Atlantic, 1969)
- The Diverse Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1969)
- Suite 16 (Atlantic, 1970)
- The Gentle Giant (Atlantic, 1971)
- Hush 'N' Thunder (Atlantic, 1972)
- Part of the Search (Atlantic, 1973)
- 10 Years Hence (Atlantic, 1974)
- The Doctor is In... and Out (Atlantic, 1976)
- Autophysiopsychic (1977, CTI Records)
- In a Temple Garden (1979, CTI Records)
- Yusef Lateef in Nigeria (Landmark, 1983)
- Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony (Atlantic, 1987)
- Concerto for Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1988)
- Nocturnes (Atlantic, 1989)
- Meditations (Atlantic, 1990)
- Yusef Lateef's Encounters (Atlantic, 1991)
- Tenors of Yusef Lateef and Von Freeman (Yal, 1992)
- Heart Vision (Yal, 1992)
- Yusef Lateef Plays Ballads (Yal, 1993)
- Tenors of Yusef Lateef and Archie Shepp (Yal, 1993)
- Woodwinds (Yal, 1993)
- The World at Peace (1997)
- Beyond the Sky (2000)
- Go: Organic Orchestra: In the Garden (2003)
- The Doctor is In and Out (2005)
- Nocturnes (2005)
- The Complete Yusef Lateef (2005)
- The Blue Yusef Lateef (2005)
- Influence with Lionel and Stéphane Belmondo (2005)
- 10 Years Hence (2008)
- Roots Run Deep (2012, Rogue Art)
With Cannonball Adderley
- The Cannonball Adderley Sextet in New York (1962; Riverside)
- Cannonball in Europe! (1962; Riverside)
- Jazz Workshop Revisited (1962; Riverside)
- Autumn Leaves (1963; Riverside)
- Nippon Soul (1963; Riverside)
With Donald Byrd
- Byrd Jazz (Transition, 1955) – also released as First Flight (Delmark)
With Art Farmer
- Something You Got (CTI, 1977)
With Curtis Fuller
With Grant Green
With Sonny Red
- Breezing (Jazzland, 1960)
With Leon Redbone
With Doug Watkins
- Soulnik (New Jazz, 1960)
With Randy Weston
- Uhuru Afrika (Roulette, 1960)
- Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians – Lateef, Yusef Abdul (William Evans). Retrieved 2013-04-06.
- "About Yusef Lateef". Yuseflateef.com. FANA Music/YAL Records. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
- Lateef Wins Grammy Award For Best New Age Album in 1987. books.google.com.br. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "About Yusef Lateef". Official website. 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- A Fireside Chat With Yusef Lateef
- "Yusef Lateef Comes to Grace Cathedral". Beyondchron.org. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "Lateef Being Honored With Jazz Master Fellowship Award in 2010". Arts.endow.gov. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- "Jazz Master Fellowship Award Winners Through 1982–2011". Arts.endow.gov. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- "A portrait of saxophonist Yusef Lateef in his Own Words And Music". wgbh.org. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
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