Posted by themusicsover on December 23, 2013
Yusef Lateef (Born William Huddleston)
October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013
Yusef Lateef was a highly influential jazz multi-instrumentalist who, primarily through the flute and tenor saxophone, is best remembered for seamlessly integrating of jazz and Eastern music. Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Lateef was exposed to the playing of such local greats as Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell and Elvin Jones at a very young age. By the time he finished high school he was already proficient enough on the saxophone to launch his professional career. In 1949, he was hired by Benny Goodman to tour as part of his orchestra. By the late ’50s, Lateef was making his own records for Savoy, and later Prestige Records. In 1961, he released arguably his most influential album, Eastern Sounds. His use of Eastern instruments on that album clearly influenced the likes of John Coltrane. In 1987, he was awarded a Grammy for the album, Yusef’s Lateef’s Little Symphony. He also acquired numerous other awards and accolades throughout his career – not just as a musician, but as an educator as well. Yusef Lateef was 93 when he passed away on December 23, 2013.