Yusef Lateef was an amazing musician with an amazing range in terms of instruments and musical genres. He could play walkin’-the-bar, gutbucket tenor and then launch into fantastic Eastern or Middle-Eastern excursions on flute or oboe. Percussionist Adam Rudolph, who worked closely with Lateef since the late ‘80s, selects favorites from his long career in this 2012 Jazz Times column.
Bill Murray once took a cab and found out the driver played the saxophone but never got to practice because he worked 14-hour days. So…
BM: “I said, ‘When do you practice?’”
Cabbie: “I drive 14 hours a day.”
BM: “Well, where’s your sax?”
Cabbie: “In the trunk.”
BM: “Pull over and get in the back, I know how to drive a car. ”
“Not only did he play all the way to Sausalito, which is a long way, we stopped and got barbecue. He [wound up] playing in what some would call a sketchy, weird place in Oakland at 2:15 in the morning. I was like, ‘Relax, man, you’ve got the [bleeping] horn! We’re cool!’ And it was great and it made for a beautiful night!”
Dear kids that are starting band for the first time.
Instruments don’t have gender. If you are a boy and you want to play flute. Do it. If you are a girl and you want to play tuba. Do it. No one can tell you that since you are a boy you have to play saxophone, trumpet or another instrument like that. Or since you are a girl you have to play flute, clarinet or some instrument like that. Play whatever you want to. No one can tell you other wise.
“The reason why choir concert attendance is so high is because all of the choir kids’ friends come to see them. Band concerts are poorly attended because all of their friends are sitting next to them, performing too.”