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Yusef Lateef: Show Preview 

Wednesday, Oct 20 2010

True story: When this writer was a student of Yusef Lateef's in the early '90s, there was a violinist who brought his dog to class every week. One week we played a blues, and the dog, which had been napping peacefully in the corner through our neophyte solos, perked up as soon as Lateef blew through his saxophone. The dog howled. Lateef howled back, in time and in tune, creating an impossibly gorgeous human-canine duet. This wasn't a surprise. Lateef's astonishingly long and varied career has taken many unlikely turns. He played with Dizzy Gillespie's 1949 orchestra, experimented with "world music" on early-'60s albums like Eastern Sounds, and reached fractured, atonal funk on Metamorphosis (1992). Lateef's latest meditative duets with percussionist Adam Rudolph — with whom he'll perform for this gem on the SFJazz calendar — continue the expansive tradition. He also turns 90 this year, so this isn't one of those "see him next time" situations.

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Ezra Gale

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