Text by Dawoud Kringle
When I was in my teens, I would occasionally go to a record store that sold records at bargain prices. I remember a record in the jazz section that stood out: 1984, by Yusef Lateef. It just looked so cool and intense.
Many years later, I had the opportunity to attend a few of his master classes. They were life changing experiences for me, and opened up musical possibilities I couldn’t have imagined.
I still have the CDs he’d given me as a gift.
I also performed at an event in Philadelphia where he was the headliner.
The last time I saw him was last Spring when Roulette presented a concert celebrating his 93rd birthday. I spoke with him briefly for the last time, and promised I’d send him a copy of my book – one of the characters in the novel was named and patterned after him. The last communication I had with him was via an email: he told me he’d received the book, and thanked me for the honorable mention.
He changed music for the better, and changed my life for the better. I salute him, and thank Allah for his life.