A formative influence on John Coltrane, the great jazz saxophonist Yusef Lateef died yesterday in western Massachusetts. He was 93.
Born William Emanuel Huddleston in Chattanooga, he grew up in the musical backstreets of Detroit and burst onto record in 1957. One of the first to play exotic instruments in modern jazz, he used Chinese wooden flutes, koto, rahab and other items from his eclectic collection, creating a fusion sound that was decades ahead of his time. A Grammy winner, Yusuf’s scores have been performed by the Altanta and Detroit Symphony orchestras.
After joining the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, he twice made the pilgrimage to Mecca.