All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Jason Moran, Randy Weston and Billy Harper at SFJazz

Harry S. Pariser By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Moran, Randy Weston and Billy Harper
San Francisco, CA
November 24, 2013

Three fine musicians came together on stage in a new jazz facility in San Francisco. First up was a rising star in the jazz world, an acclaimed pianist who frequently incorporates samples of taped music and text in his onstage performance. The second portion of the evening saw the reunion of two longtime off-and-on collaborators. The venue was SFJAZZ Collective. The musicians: Jason Moran on solo piano, followed by the duo of pianist Randy Weston and saxophonist Billy Harper.

Originally from Texas and known for his work with Randy Weston, Harper has played with the likes of Gil Evans, Max Roach and Art Blakey. Weston himself first came to notice during the 1950s and has long been known for his interest in African music. He has performed in Africa and lived in Morocco. He remains one of the most influential living jazz pianists, and his book "African Rhythms" tells his story.

One of the most innovative young pianists on today's jazz scene, Moran was born in 1975, when Weston was already decades into his career, and he began studying the piano at age six. He had nearly come to abandon the instrument when he first heard the music of Thelonious Monk which inspired him to keep pursuing his mastery of the 88 keys.

Now a piano whiz, Moran is a congenial, friendly performer who knows how to engage and enthrall an audience. After an introductory number, he related how he collects old vinyl and came across an LP by Pigmeat Markham, whom many believe to be a progenitor of what was to become rap. He sampled Markham while tapping at the keys. "Thank you Pigmeat for sampling your wealth with us," he declared. He also performed, with similar technical prowess and skill, Duke Ellington's "Single Petal of a Rose," as well as compositions commissioned by the city of Chicago. His playing was lovely, lyrical and innovative.

Weston and Harper then took the stage. Although they have performed together in an ensemble, their duets today (they had performed at a benefit earlier) marked the first appearance, in recent memory at least, as a duo in San Francisco. Weston was garbed in his customary African cap while Harper bared his silver-topped mane of hair. These skilled and seasons of veterans shone with a sweet, energetic and soulful synergy reflective of their decades of creative association.

Harper waxed eloquently on tenor for the Weston classic "Berkshire Blues" which followed "Loose Wig," the first number. Weston introduced "If Only You Could Be Mine" by asking Harper to tell about how it came about: A big hand reached down in a dream. "Music is magic," Weston waxed. "You can't touch it." He continued with his magical classic "The Beauty of It All" from Volcano Blues, tapped out a children's song from the Congo and concluded with Ghanaian Guy Warren's "Mystery of Love," which has been his theme song for more than four decades, tapping the keys on the far right of the keyboard before moving to the deeper, bass sounds on the left.

Returning for an encore, the duo played "Blue Moses," a song written during Weston's sojourn in Tunisia (where he first played with Harper). Weston blew kisses to the audience as he received a standing ovation. "What a beautiful feeling this is," he intoned. The sentiment was clearly shared by the highly enthused audience.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton At Yoshi's Live Reviews
Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton At Yoshi's
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Kraak Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Kraak Festival 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: March 24, 2018
Read 2018 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit Live Reviews
2018 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Vlatko Stefanovski's performance at the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra's Concert Hall 2018 Live Reviews
Vlatko Stefanovski's performance at the Macedonian...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Noa Fort at Cornelia Street Café Live Reviews
Noa Fort at Cornelia Street Café
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Cologne Open 2018 Live Reviews
Cologne Open 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard" Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Brilliant Corners 2017" Live Reviews Brilliant Corners 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read ""A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane" Live Reviews "A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Amadou & Mariam At Stern Grove" Live Reviews Amadou & Mariam At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue" Live Reviews Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue
by Barry Witherden
Published: March 1, 2018