Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph Duo come to Bowker Auditorium

By Christiana McDougal

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(Courtesy Myspace)

Yusef Lateef and Adam Rudolph, two of the most prominent jazz musicians still performing and composing music, will be playing at Bowker Auditorium in Stockbridge Hall on Thursday, October 15th. Both musicians have a long legacy of playing an infusion of jazz and world music and have been performing together and transcending musical barriers to demonstrate the empowering spirit of their music.

The duo, despite the 30-year difference in their age, has been playing together since 1988, releasing numerous albums. Lateef has played alongside jazz giants such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Cannonball Adderly. He found his way into his own musical niche by deviating from the jazz norm and combining jazz techniques with Middle Eastern and Asian reed instruments. Rudolph has also played with notable musicians including Cuban jazz pianist Omar Sosa, jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and jazz great Herbie Hancock.

Lateef plays tenor saxophone, shehnai, piano, oboe, shofar, arghul, koto and various forms of the flute. He is a Grammy Award winning composer, author, educator and professor. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Smith, Hampshire and Amherst College and is currently a Professor Emeritus at UMass. His teaching emphasizes the methodology behind the workings of autophysiopsychic music, which is deriving music through one’s spiritual, emotional and physical being. He earned his doctorate in education from UMass Amherst in 1975, and in 2007 was named the University’s Artist of the Year.

Aside from playing and teaching, Lateef has composed pieces for various symphonies, chamber orchestras, ensembles, pianists and vocalists. He has also been given the title of American Jazz Master for 2010 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) due to his musical contributions. The NEA stated that Lateef has been “a major force on the international musical scene for more than six decades, and was among the first to incorporate world music into traditional jazz through his mastery of Middle Eastern and Asian reed instruments.”

Playing alongside Lateef, Rudolph is a percussionist who the New York Times has referred to as “a pioneer in world music.” He focuses his performances on hand drums, djembe, bendir, talking drum and the didgeridoo. Having graduated from Oberlin College with a self-designed degree in Ethnomusicology, he has also been drawn to non-Western music theory, fitting harmoniously with Lateef’s musical interests and aspirations.

After traveling to Ghana in 1977, Rudolph returned to Chicago a year later with musician and composer Foday Musa Suso. The two collaborated and created a fusion of jazz, R&B and traditional African music. Continuing his legacy, Rudolph currently plays with his own group, Moving Pictures.

Rudolph has referred to Lateef as his “most important mentor since 1988.” The fact that these two musicians, with seemingly different backgrounds, are able to collaborate proves their strong connection – an affinity for jazz infused with world music and traditional non-Western instruments. The chemistry between the two will surely be undeniable as they perform.

The concert will be held on Thursday, October 15 in Bowker Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets for the general public are $10 and $5 dollars for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office or online on the Fine Arts Center website.

 Christiana McDougal can be reached at [email protected].