World of Jazz #61 – A Tribute to Yusef Lateef

A slight diversion from the current run of shows featuring the A-Z of less well known jazz artists because of the sad news of the passing of Yusef Lateef.

Lateef was legend in the jazz world – his career began in 1938 and he was associated over the intervening years with leaders like Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Charles Mingus and many more. It is virtually impossible to cover all of his career with over 100 albums released either as a leader or sideman. I have selected some of my favourites and have mainly concentrated on his work as a leader with the exception of one stellar live date with Cannonball Adderley.

Although Lateef’s main instruments were the tenor saxophone and flute, he also played oboe and bassoon,  and uniquely featured a number of non-western instruments including the bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, xun, arghul and koto, in his work.  He could be considered as the forefather of world music as he was a key innovator in the blending jazz with “Eastern” sounds.

Over such a long career it is not surprising that Lateef visited many musical genres in his work and you will find in this selection everything from straight ahead hard bop to 70s pop/funk with some remarkable innovation in between.

In later life Lateef was a well respected educator and in 2010 he received the lifetime Jazz Master Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts – the highest award given in the world of Jazz. Whilst not well known outside of the jazz world he can truly be described as one of the leading innovative musicians of the 20th/21st centuries.



  1. Yusef Lateef – Revelation – The Centaur and the Phoenix
  2. Yusef Lateef – India – Jazz ‘Round The World
  3. Yusef Lateef – Love is Eternal – Before Dawn
  4. Yusef Lateef – Ching Miau – Eastern Sounds
  5. Yusef Lateef – Chandra – The Diverse Yusef Lateef
  6. Yusef Lateef – Back Home – The Blue Yusef Lateef
  7. Yusef Lateef – Interior Monologue – Roots Run Deep
  8. Cannonball Adderley Sextet – Dizzy’s Business – In New York
  9. Yusef Lateef – The Magnolia Triangle – Live at Pep’s
  10. Yusef Lateef – Nubian Lady – The Gentle Giant
  11. Yusef Lateef – Robot Man – Autophysiopsychic



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