Yusef Lateef (1920 - 2013)

Yusef Lateef (born William Emanuel Huddleston, October 9, 1920 - December 23, 2013) was an American Grammy Award winning jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator and a spokesman for the Ahmadiya Muslim Community after his conversion to the Ahmadiya sect of Islam in 1950.

 Lateef was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His family moved, in 1923, to Lorain, Ohio and again in 1925, to Detroit, Michigan where his father changed the family's name to "Evans". The saxophonist used the stage name Bill Evans professionally until 1950, when he legally changed it to Yusef Abdul Lateef.

 Throughout his early life Lateef came into contact with many Detroit-based jazz musicians who went on to gain prominence, including vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Paul Chambers drummer Elvin Jones and guitarist Kenny Burrell. Lateef was a proficient saxophonist by the time of his graduation from high school at the age of 18, when he launched his professional career and began touring with a number of swing bands.

In 1949, he was invited by Dizzy Gillespy to tour with his orchestra. In 1950, Lateef returned to Detroit and began his studies in composition and flute at Wayne State University. It was during this period that he converted to Islam as a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.



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