Remembering The Gentle Giant: RIP YUSEF LATEEF

posted by Robert J. Carmack    Grammy Award-winning, Tennessee-born jazz musician/composer Yusef Lateef  died recently at his home in Shutesbury, Mass.The saxophonist was raised in Detroit and was 93 when he died of age-related complications Monday, December 23. According to his family, he passed peacefully at home.

I first experienced Yusef  Lateef’s music as a young teenager  in the early 60s while listening to older friends’s albums.Finally getting to see him live in 1968 at the famous jazz club in Los Angeles,The Lighthouse. Seeing Yusef live also introduced me to a young pianist from Philly, Kenny Barron..In addition, I learned that Ernie Farrow bassist, was Alice Coltrane’s brother. I loved his approach to the blues on all his instruments & recordings… he always played the blues weaved through his music.  There was only one YUSEF! we may never see another musician like him ever.  “He considered Detroit his home — an incubator for wonderful musicians,” Lateef’s wife, Ayesha, told the Detroit News. “He expanded into the area that few ventured into in that time. He called his music Autophysiopsychic  Music for the soul, body and spirit.” During his long career, he performed with Dizzy GillespieMiles Davis, Milt Jackson, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, Hank, Thad and Elvin Jones, Kenny Burrell and others. Lateef was also a Five College Consortium professor of music.  IMHO, There Two MUST have Recordings for your collection , “Eastern Sounds”  &  Live at Peps,because of the lithany of styles , instruments and passion demonstrated on these recordings.

Yusef Lateef a

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