Yusef Lateef on joining Dizzy's big band
NOW, A JAZZ MOMENT...
Say When (Dizzy Gillespie)
CD: Dizzy Gillespie Big Band 1949-50
Yusef Lateef: Dizzy's big band had just returned from Europe and Teddy Edwards says, "Diz needs a tenor player, you know?" So I said, "Give me his phone number." He gave me his number. I called him in New York. And he sent me a ticket to join the band in San Francisco.
IN 1949, NEA JAZZ MASTER YUSEF LATEEF JOINED THE LEGENDARY DIZZY GILLESPIE BIG BAND. AT FIRST, IT WAS A TOUGH GAME OF "FOLLOW THE LEADER."
He was so innovative. I would be playing a piece with him and we'd get to the end of a phrase that'd be like a whole note. And in a certain tempo that note ends after 4 beats. And I started noticing that I'd get to the end of a phrase and the rest of the saxophones were still playing. And John Brown would look out from under his eyes, I was to his left. He didn't say anything. And finally I caught on what was going on. Dizzy was in front of the band and he had cues. Unspoken, but tacitly understood.
MUSIC: up and fades
THIS JAZZ MOMENT WITH SAXOPHONIST AND FLUTIST YUSEF LATEEF WAS CREATED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.