Chattanooga Native Yusuf Lateef Dies At 93

Monday, December 23, 2013

Chattanooga native Yusef Lateef, jazz innovator who won a Grammy Award, has died at the age of 93 at his home at Shutesbury, Mass.

Born William Emanuel Huddleston on Oct. 9, 1920, he moved with his family to Detroit in 1925.

He was especially gifted on the flute and tenor saxophone, though he played many instruments.

He was invited to tour with Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra in 1949.

His Grammy came in 1987 for Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony.

Lateef was named an American Jazz Master for the year 2010 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition to a musician, he was also an artist.

His website says:

Yusef Lateef is universally acknowledged as one of the great living masters and innovators in the African American tradition of autophysiopsychic music — that which comes from one’s spiritual, physical and emotional self. 

As a virtuoso on a broad spectrum of reed instruments -- tenor saxophone, flute, oboe, bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, argol, sarewa, and taiwan koto — Yusef Lateef has introduced delightful new sounds and blends of tone colors to audiences all over the world, and he has incorporated the sounds of many countries into his own music. As a result, he is considered a pioneer in what is known today as “world music.”

As a composer, Yusef Lateef has compiled a catalogue of works not only for the quartets and quintets he has led, but for symphony and chamber orchestras, stage bands, small ensembles, vocalists, choruses and solo pianists. His extended works have been performed by the WDR (Cologne), NDR (Hamburg), Atlanta, Augusta and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, the Symphony of the New World, Eternal Wind, the GO Organic Orchestra, and the New Century Players from California Insitute of the Arts. In 1987 he won a Grammy Award for his recording of “Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony,” on which he performed all the parts. His latest extended works include a woodwind quintet, his Symphony No.2, and a concerto for piano and orchestra.

As an educator, Yusef has devoted much of his life to exploring the methodology of autophysiopsychic music in various cultures and passing what he has learned on to new generations of students. He is an emeritus Five Colleges professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, from which he was awarded a Ph.D. in Education in 1975. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “An Overview of Western and Islamic Education.” In 2007 he was named University of Massachusetts’ “Artist of the Year.”

As an author, Yusef Lateef has published two novellas, “A Night in the Garden of Love” and “Another Avenue;” two collections of short stories, “Spheres” and “Rain Shapes;” and his autobiography, “The Gentle Giant,” written in collaboration with Herb Boyd. In recent years he has also exhibited his paintings at various art galleries. 



Hello, Dolly! Opens On Friday At The Chattanooga Theatre Center

Hello, fun! That’s what our season-ending production of the Broadway blockbuster musical HELLO, DOLLY! promises to be when it hits the stage on Friday. The musical comedy, which boasts some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history, continues its run through Sunday, Aug. 5, at the Chattanooga Theatre Center. HELLO, DOLLY!, which first opened on Broadway in 1964, is currently ... (click for more)

Van Johnson In WWII Docudrama GO FOR BROKE! To Screen At Heritage House On July 19

Van Johnson in Dory Schary's World War II Docudrama GO FOR BROKE!  will be presented on  Thursday, July 19 at 2 p.m. at Heritage House Arts & Civic Center, 1428 Jenkins Road in Chattanooga.  Admission is free.  Running time is 1:31 and the film is rated PG. Review of the film: The film GO FOR BROKE! is the story of the 442nd Infantry Battalion, the ... (click for more)

Congressman Zach Wamp Endorses Bill Lee For Governor

Former Congressman Zach Wamp endorsed Bill Lee for governor on Monday. The endorsement from Congressman Wamp, coming after last week’s endorsement from the conservative Free Press Editorial Page at The Chattanooga Times Free Press, shows Lee has built tremendous momentum as early voting is underway right now.  “It is an honor to have the support of Congressman Zach ... (click for more)

Senator Watson And Rep. Hazlewood Ask TDOT To Move Swiftly On Highway 127 Road Project Up Signal Mountain

State Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain) have asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to move swiftly on the Highway 127 project leading up Signal Mountain. In a sternly-worded letter, the lawmakers asked TDOT Commissioner John Schroer to prioritize the road project due to further deterioration of the road. ... (click for more)

Here We Go Again With The Same Cummings Highway, 12th Street Flooding - And Response

Here we go again with the same pitiful news reports about the Cummings Highway Interstate interchange with I-24 - Flooding yet again after a heavy rain.  TDOT is derelict in not having repaired this years ago.  How hard is it to get some excavators out there to dig up the collapsed drainage pipes which TDOT says are the cause of the flooding and replace them with ... (click for more)

Deal With The Graffiti Vandals

I travel to other neat old cities and don't see nearly the graffiti vandalism as in Chattanooga. Why do we allow one or two or three repeat vandals to mar our venerable Walnut Street Bridge, the pillars to the Holmberg Bridge, the remodeled Chief John Ross Market Street Bridge, the walls along our multi-million-dollar Riverwalk, our sidewalks, street signs and our old limestone ... (click for more)