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Jazz Masters

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Sunday January 5th Show: Yusef Lateef Memorial

Yusef_Lateef_smallReminder: Suga’ in My Bowl now airs weekly on WBAI, except for the last Sunday of the month! Please update your calendars, pass the word on to friends, and share on social media if you like the show.

The next show will air on Sunday Janury 5, 2014 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will be a memorial to the recently deceased Yusef Lateef. We’ll feature a 2010 interview with Lateef and a new interview with long-time collaborator and friend Adam Rudolph. The original show also featured an interview with journalist and educator Herb Boyd, who co-wrote Lateef’s autobiography The Gentle Giant.



Yusef Lateef is a Grammy Award-winning composer, performer, recording artist, author, educator and philosopher who has been a major force on the international musical scene for more than six decades. He is universally acknowledged as one of the great masters and innovators in the African American tradition of autophysiopsychic music — that which comes from one’s spiritual, physical and emotional self. In 2010, he was declared a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts.

As a virtuoso on a broad spectrum of reed instruments — tenor saxophone, flute, oboe, bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, argol, sarewa, and taiwan koto — Lateef has introduced delightful new sounds and blends of tone colors to audiences all over the world.

As a composer, he compiled a catalog 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 and the Symphony of the New World. He won a Grammy in 1987 for his recording of “Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony,” on which he performed all the parts.

As an educator, Lateef devoted much of his life to exploring the methodology of autophysiopsychic music in various cultures and passing what he learned on to new generations of students. He was a 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.”

As an author, Yusef Lateef has published a novella, A Night in the Garden of Love, and two collections of short stories, Spheres and Rain Shapes.

Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour.

Produced, engineered, edited, and hosted by Joyce Jones.

Photo: Yusef Lateef. Creative Commons licensed by Flickr user Tom Beetz via Wikimedia.

At this time, we don’t have information on memorial and funeral arrangements. See our blog and Facebook page for updates.


Web Extras:

Read his obituary in the The Guardian newspaper.
Watch Lateef and Rudolph in a live 2010 performance in Milan, Italy:

Sunday 2/3 Show: Lou Donaldson

Suga' in My Bowl guest Jazz Master Lou DonaldsonThe next show will air on Sunday February 3, 2013 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of Suga’ will feature one of the 2013 NEA Jazz Master recipients, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. This program originally aired in May 2009 and focused on recordings that were sampled by hip hop artists to lead up to the June Hip Hop Takeover.

You can hear a 30-second preview below.

Donaldson has long been an excellent bop altoist influenced by Charlie Parker, but with a more blues-based style of his own. His distinctive tone has been heard in a variety of small-group settings, and he has recorded dozens of worthy and spirited (if somewhat predictable) sets throughout the years.

Donaldson started playing clarinet when he was 15, soon switching to the alto. He attended college and performed in a Navy band while in the military. Donaldson first gained attention when he moved to New York and in 1952 started recording for Blue Note as a leader. At the age of 25, his style was fully formed, and although it would continue growing in depth through the years, Donaldson had already found his sound. In 1954, he participated in a notable gig with Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, and Tommy Potter that was extensively documented by Blue Note and that directly predated the Jazz Messengers. However, Donaldson was never a member of the Messengers, and although he recorded as a sideman in the ’50s and occasionally afterwards with Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson, and Jimmy Smith, among others, he has been a bandleader from the mid-’50s up until the present.

Donaldson’s early Blue Note recordings were pure bop. In 1958, he began often utilizing a conga player, and starting in 1961, his bands often had an organist rather than a pianist. His bluesy style was easily transferable to soul-jazz, and he sounded most original in that context. His association with Blue Note (1952-1963) was succeeded by some excellent (if now-scarce) sets for Cadet and Argo (1963-1966). The altoist returned to Blue Note in 1967 and soon became caught up in the increasingly commercial leanings of the label. For a time, he utilized an electronic Varitone sax, which completely watered down his sound. The success of “Alligator Boogaloo” in 1967 led to a series of less interesting funk recordings that were instantly dated and not worthy of his talent. These particular Blue Note recordings were often sampled by hip hop artists.

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