DJS Jazz Spotlite Featuring The Legendary Dr. Yusef Lateef

Yusef LateefThis DJS Jazz Spotlite features the legendary Dr. Yusef Lateef.

Known for his innovative blending of “Eastern” music with American jazz, Lateef’s main instruments are tenor saxophone and flute, but he is one of few to play oboe or bassoon in jazz, and also plays various world music instruments.

Dr. Lateef came up in a very fertile period in Detroit. Some of the Detroit musicians he performed with include vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Elvin Jones, and guitarist Kenny Burrell.

By 1960, after already playing a year with Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra, he began performing with Charles Mingus, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, and obtained a BA in music and a MA in music education from Wayne State University.

This true renaissance man has continued to write music that crosses stylistic and artistic boundaries. He has taught at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and the the Manhattan School of Music. He has toured the world with his ensembles and other musicians performing in concert halls and music festivals. Dr. Lateef continues to perform, record and expand the boundaries of music.

Dr. Lateef participated in a panel discussion held in the Jazz Talk Tent at the 2007 Detroit International Jazz Festival. The discussion focused on the Dr. Lateef’s life and his many accomplishments. In the segment featured in this Spotlite, Dr. Lateef discusses how he started exploring non-western musical instruments. The other participants in the discussion included Detroit Saxophonist Steve Wood, author Herb Boyd, and producer/educator/author/jazz historian Ira Gitler

To learn more about this amazing musician, and human being, go to

Cry Tender

Trumpet – Lonnie Hillyer
Piano – Hugh Lawson
Bass – Herman Wright
Drums – Frank Gant

Opening Music -Riff3 – Tim Brockett**
Motor City Horns (
Trumpet – Ben Toman
Trumpet – Mark Byerly
Alto Saxophone – Dave Luther
Tenor Saxophone – Keith Kaminski
Trombone – John Rutherford

Background Music – Mark Byerly’s the resurrection available on Bop Culture’s CD The E.P. Go to for more information

A special thank you to author Herb Boyd for acting as liason between Dr. Lateef and JazzStage Productions. Make sure to check out the book he coauthored with Dr. Lateef called The Gentle Giant. It is a highly recommended read.

The photo comes courtesy of Hans Speekenbrink Podiumfotografie. His many other fine works can be found at

This Spotlite was sponsored by the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Go to to find out more about this wonderful end of summer tradition.

**Past DJS Jazz Spotlite’s have wrongly credited Dave Luther as the Riff3 composer. JazzStage Productions stands corrected and would like to apologize to Mr. Brockett for this oversight


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