Randy Weston, 1926-2018


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Pianist and composer Randy Weston, who championed the African origins of jazz, died at home in New York yesterday. He was 92. With his distinctive rhythmic patterns and powerful harmonic progressions, Weston underlined the African heritage that so definitively helped shape the music’s development. He frequently visited and performed in Nigeria and other African nations. For a time in the late ‘60s he lived in Tangier, Morocco, and opened a club there.

Several of Weston’s compositions long since took their places among the most durable pieces in the modern jazz repertoire. One of his earliest was the ubiquitous “Hi Fly,” a part of the 1959 album he recorded at New York’s Five Spot Cafe. The other participants were Coleman Hawkins, tenor saxophone; Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Wilbur Little, bass; and Clifford Jarvis, drums.

For extensive background on Weston, see Giovanni Russonello’s article in today’s New York Times.

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