Happy birthday to Yusef Lateef, who would have been 99 years old today. Like many great musicians, his body of work seems to be timeless – his music sounds both traditional and modern, both familiar and foreign. As a young man he made valuable contributions to the ouevres of jazz masters like Charles Mingus and Cannonball Adderley, and later became a venerated bandleader and educator himself. His affinity for funk and gospel music helped produce some of the most sampled grooves in hip-hop, and he was known to his peers as an encyclopedia of jazz history and all manner of wind instruments.
Yusef was a prolific composer, but for his birthday post I’m sharing a dedication by pianist Barry Harris.