All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

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...

7

Randy Weston: Music of The Earth

R.J. DeLuke By

Sign in to view read count
"From him [Stearns] and the early training from my dad, I realized this was African culture. What we call jazz is African culture in America. What we call calypso is African culture in Trinidad. It's the way we approach life. The way we do things is in the music. It's our culture. In the process of discovering it, you realize Africa is a mysterious, magical continent that we all come from... The continent is so rich in culture and music and diversity. Wherever the people have been taken, whenever they come in contact, they continue that tradition of producing art. They take it to Cuba. They take it to Haiti. They take it to Brooklyn and Mississippi.

"When I look at Monk or Duke or Louis Armstrong, these are spiritual people who the creator sent down to lift our spirits at a particular time. Being around these kind of people, I realize how little I know."

Over the years, Weston has played with many of the greats and received accolades from all the major jazz magazines. He's an NEA Jazz Master and has honorary doctorate degrees. For his work.

"It's an exciting time for me," he says after nine decades, "because I'm realizing how much I don't know about the music. It's amazing... I've had some incredible spiritual experiences with music in Africa that I never had any place else. I've had spiritual experiences in the African-American church I've never had anyplace else. Music can take you too a high spiritual level. So when I saw Coleman Hawkins and Monk played 'Ruby My Dear,' it wasn't just a solo. It was something else. Magic. You say, 'wow.'"

Says Weston, "I'm so grateful I met some of the giants of our music. That period, for me, that's our royalty. We will never reach that level. There are no more Art Tatums or Earl Hines or Erroll Garners, people like that. That's our royalty. I can listen to them. Thank god for the technology."

Of the young players that are there today, he says "They're good. I think I'm good. But I'm not royalty. I'm not the Pyramids. Monk is the Pyramids. Duke is the Pyramids. How can I be better than Duke Ellington?"

Photo credit: Dave Kaufman

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors Interviews
Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: September 7, 2018
Read Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony Interviews
Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 5, 2018
Read Bob James: Piano Player Interviews
Bob James: Piano Player
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: September 3, 2018
Read Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create Interviews
Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision Interviews
Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Dan Shout: In With a Shout Interviews
Dan Shout: In With a Shout
by Seton Hawkins
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Dan Monaghan: The Man Behind The Swing" Interviews Dan Monaghan: The Man Behind The Swing
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Abby Lee: Born to Sing" Interviews Abby Lee: Born to Sing
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 28, 2018
Read "Mica Bethea: Quintessential Band Geek" Interviews Mica Bethea: Quintessential Band Geek
by Barbara Salter Nelson
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Andreas Varady: Guitar Wizard On The Rise" Interviews Andreas Varady: Guitar Wizard On The Rise
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Bob James: Piano Player" Interviews Bob James: Piano Player
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "Ron Korb: Pan-Global Flutist" Interviews Ron Korb: Pan-Global Flutist
by Rob Caldwell
Published: June 27, 2018