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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Weston: Blue Moses

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Brooklyn-born, six-foot-seven octogenarian pianist/composer Randy Weston has literally been a larger-than-life jazz force for six decades: his percussive pianism was forged from a distinguished keyboard continuum, ranging from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to John Lewis; his “Little Niles" and “Hi-Fly" are well-worn jazz standards; and the pianist may well be the greatest exponent of the African roots of America's classical music. Weston lived in Morocco in the 1960s and '70s, opened a jazz club there, and was virtually a one-man jazz ambassador--particularly to the enigmatic Ganawa (also spelled Gnawa), a black brotherhood of healers that claims ancient Egyptian ancestry, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Randy Weston: Blue Moses

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Randy WestonBlue MosesCTI Masterworks2011 (1972) Sony's program of reissues from CTI--the label set up by producer Creed Taylor in the late 1960s, post Impulse!, which he also founded, and post Verve, where he had moved on leaving Impulse!--continues with one of the brightest jewels in the CTI vaults. Like the sixteen discs which Sony have already reissued, pianist and composer Randy Weston's Blue Moses has not previously been released on CD in the US or Europe (though there was a 2006 Japanese issue). Like the 1972 LP, it ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet:The Storyteller

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Randy Weston African Rhythms SextetThe StorytellerMotema Records2010 It's almost fifty years since pianist/composer Randy Weston first played in Africa and he has returned many times since--three times alone this year, 2010--absorbing the endless rhythms and colors of the mother continent. Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries Weston has delved into the African roots of jazz, extolling the beauty and richness of African culture and making the connection between past and present. The Storyteller, a wonderfully intimate live recording, is the first African Rhythms quintet (plus guest drummer Lewis Nash) recording since ...

INTERVIEWS

Randy Weston: African Stories, African Rhythms

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In over 60 years as a leader, pianist Randy Weston has achieved an incredible amount. He has recorded nearly 50 albums and has been hailed in the process as the natural heir to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Three times he has been voted Downbeat's composer of the year, and his compositions have been recorded by the likes of Ahmad Jamal, Cannonball Adderley, Roland Kirk, Dexter Gordon, Abbey Lincoln, Abdullah Ibrahim and Jimmy Heath amongst others. In 2001, his significance in the jazz world was officially recognized when he joined an elite group of musicians designated as NEA Jazz Masters. ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Autobiography of Randy Weston: African Rhythms

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The Autobiography of Randy Weston: African RhythmsRandy Weston / Willard JenkinsHardcover; 344 pagesISBN: 978-0-8223-4784-2Duke University Press2010 It's hard to think of another jazz musician who has promoted the African roots of jazz with quite the missionary zeal of pianist Randy Weston. Weston's African consciousness was awakened by his father, who taught his son that he was an African in Brooklyn. As this autobiography demonstrates, Weston's musical journey--indeed his entire philosophy--has been conditioned by this identity. Based on interviews conducted by Willard Jenkins over four years, this first ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Randy Weston African Rhythms Trio at Birdland

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The Randy Weston African Rhythms Trio Birdland New York, New York October 3, 2007

The extremely tall Weston hunkers over his dwarfed piano, looking years younger than his eight decades ought to allow. He's in relaxed mode for this intimate late-night gathering on the opening night of his residency. The African experience has been central to the Brooklynite Weston's musical life from a very early point, even though it took him a while to actually steep himself in the continent's culture.

This is the smallest manifestation of Randy's African Rhythms concept, a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Weston & His African Rhythms Trio: Zep Tepi

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Randy Weston returns to the trio format for the first time in over thirty years with Zep Tepi. Poised to enter his eighth decade on the planet, Weston is an elder in every sense of the term. His distinctively percussive attack, yard-wide chords, criss-crossing rhythms and idiosyncratic melodies remain sui generis. Both literally (he's 6'9") and figuratively, Weston is a giant of the music.

He pays tribute to his friend and mentor Thelonious Monk on “Ballad for T," a reflective but vinegary solo piano performance that nods to “Ruby, My Dear." Ancestral spirits are afoot throughout, from the Gnawa people ...



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