Renaissance man Dr. Yusef Lateef was born William
Emanuel Huddleston in Chattanooga, Tennessee on
October 9th, 1920. At the age of 5 he moved with his family
to Detroit. Growing up in Detroit he came
in contact and forged friendships with many a giant of jazz
such as Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Tommy
Flanagan, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, and Donald Byrd.
By the time he graduated from high school he
was a proficient tenor saxophonist. He started soon after
graduation playing professionally and touring
with different swing orchestras among them those of Hot
Lips Page, Roy Eldridge and Lucky Millender.
In 1949 he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra (using the
stage name William Evans), and stayed with
them for one year