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Yusef Lateef's Secret Garden

By Published: December 24, 2013
AAJ: Have you ever considered something different from teaching—like research, but still in a music education vein?

YL: I did research in Nigeria for four years, '81 through '85. I did research in flute, which is where the album Yusef Lateef in Nigeria came from.

AAJ: Is there someone who you wish you could have played—or played more—with?

YL: Not really. I have no regrets. I'm grateful for those wonderful musicians I DID have a chance to play with, like Roy Eldridge, Hot Lips Page, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball (Adderly), Matthew Rucker.

AAJ: What didn't we talk about that you'd like to discuss?

YL: Just that, if you would, describe my music as "autophysiopsychic music," which means music that comes from the mental, physical and spiritual self. I'll be grateful for that.

AAJ: Are you current with the internet and web technology?

YL: Not yet. I am interested in it, but there's so many hours in a day, so I do what I can, you know?

AAJ: Are you a voracious reader?

YL: I've read a few books. I want to read John Ruskin now.

AAJ: Do you listen to a lot of music yourself?

YL: No. I have other things, priorities, I should say.

AAJ: Have you ever wanted to do an album of all pop songs, classic or contemporary?

YL: I think I'm someplace else now in the syndrome of evolution. I've only been recording my own music for the last six years.

AAJ: Do you have a working band together for playing on the road even though you're doing so much teaching?

YL: We have three groups: We have a duo, myself and Adam Rudolph; we have a twelve-piece group called The World At Peace; and then we have the African-American Epic Suite, which we performed with the Atlanta Symphony this past July ('98) also.

AAJ: Do you have any children or grandchildren?

YL: I have grandchildren. I have a great-grandson also, and one granddaughter. I've been married over 25 years to my present wife. I think a man becomes complete when he marries.

AAJ: Do you consider yourself a spiritual person, as opposed to a religious person, or the other way around?

YL: Well, spirituality is the relationship between the individual and the creator, as I see it, and I'm of course trying to develop that relationship with my creator. Morality, as I see it, is the relationship between one human and another—I'm trying to develop both of those qualities in my life.

Photo Credit
Pier Luigi Balzarini

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