In 1950, he studied flute and composition at Wayne State University in Detroit. Converting to Islam in the Ahmadiyya movement, he took the name Yusef Lateef, which translates roughly into "Gentle Joseph." Over the next two decades, he alternated between leading his own jazz groups, working with such artists as percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist/composer Charles Mingus, pianist Kenny Barron, alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and guitarist Grant Green, while continuing his education.
Peter is back with his first show of the New Year, featuring music from Hudson Mohawke, Kool A.D., Andrew Ashong and Nautic plus a tribute to Yusef Lateef!
In 2010, Lateef was named an American Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1987 he was awarded a Best New Age Grammy Award for Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony, a recording in which he performed all the instrumental parts.
"My parents were innately musical," he recalled in the liner notes to his album "Yusef Lateef Anthology." "Both of them sang, and my mother also played piano. I can recall my mother and her siblings getting together every week to sing spirituals while my grandmother played one of those organs you pump with your feet."