Yusef Lateef: centenary of an inspirational figure

It is the centenary of the birth of Yusef Lateef today, a very influential saxophonist and flautist, composer, bandleader, musical theorist… the list goes on. Still Influential? Yes. I think it is fair to say that Lateef has influenced many, many …

Published: 9 Oct 2020. Updated: 12 months.

It is the centenary of the birth of Yusef Lateef today, a very influential saxophonist and flautist, composer, bandleader, musical theorist… the list goes on.

Still Influential? Yes. I think it is fair to say that Lateef has influenced many, many players down the years. More recently Shabaka Hutchings, for instance, so if you are into Shabaka then dip into a few Lateef tracks today especially if you are unfamiliar with Lateef.

In terms of albums I'd go for Yusef Lateef's Detroit (Latitude 42° 30′ Longitude 83°) as a first port of call. Additionally try a January 1966 live at Ronnie Scott's recording, that did not gain a release until 2016 when it was issued by the Gearbox Records label on which Lateef was accompanied by the house band of pianist Stan Tracey, double bassist Rick Laird and drummer Bill Eyden.

You can also clearly hear the Lateef influence on the soon to be released Matthew Halsall album Salute to the Sun, especially heard in the flautist Matt Cliffe's playing.

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'Hang up Your Hang Ups' performed by Lionel Loueke – track of the week

Drawn from HH to be released by Edition listen to the excellent stripped back deftly contrapuntal guitar lines and softly vocalised Lionel Loueke version of 'Hang Up Your Hang Ups' by Herbie Hancock, Melvin M. Ragin (better known as Wah-Wah Watson) …

Published: 9 Oct 2020. Updated: 12 months.

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Drawn from HH to be released by Edition listen to the excellent stripped back deftly contrapuntal guitar lines and softly vocalised Lionel Loueke version of 'Hang Up Your Hang Ups' by Herbie Hancock, Melvin M. Ragin (better known as Wah-Wah Watson) and Paul Jackson Jr – a composition that appeared on Herbie's super-funky Man-Child released in 1975. Photo: via Bandcamp.