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Yusef A. Lateef: The Late, Legendary Musician

By Herb Boyd Special to the NNPA | 12/30/2013, 2:45 p.m.

“Yusef was so open and accessible,” Rudolph recalled during a recent interview. “There was always this love, peace and freedom about him. And you could feel all of this through his music, which defined him in the same as Picasso’s art or Miles Davis’s music defined them. We’re evolutionists, he would tell us and we have to keep on stepping.”

And stepping Lateef did, thanks to Eternal Wind and the tireless Rudolph. Even so, there was time for teaching and composing, to say nothing of his other artistic ventures into writing and painting, and running his record and publishing company, FANA Music.

His beloved wife Tahira died in 2009. Lateef later remarried Ayesha, and his final days were as fruitful and productive as ever, and he leaves a remarkable legacy of cultural achievements.

“I daily and nightly thank Allah for continuing to bless me and to allow me to bring love, peace and joy to the world,” he wrote. And that love, peace and joy resonates with all the conviction his formidable talent could command, and all we have to do is to listen to his music.

He is survived by wife Ayesha, his son also named Yusef Lateef, his grand-daughter Iqbal, and great grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were incomplete at press time.