Pianist-composer-bandleader Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn 1926; in the early 1950s he played with r&b bands including Bull Moose Jackson and the Clovers. He formed his own trio and groups with boyhood friends, trumpeter Ray Copeland and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik; he first recorded in 1954 with Cecil Payne and a trio for Riverside. Weston visited Africa beginning in 1961.
Randy Weston wrote and recorded Uhuru Africa (Roulette) in 1960 with lyrics from Langston Hughes; the arrangements for this and many Weston recordings were by trombonist Melba Liston. Weston lived in Morocco in from 1968 to the 1980s where he ran a night club and collaborated with local Gnawa musicians.
His piano and composing style was influenced by Thelonious Monk especially in its percussiveness and use of space. His interest in West Indian and African music adds lots of color and mood to his music. His compositions include "Hi-fly," "Babe's blues," and "Little Niles."
Randy Weston will appear with drummer Roy Haynes at Tri-C JazzFest on Thursday, April 30; the concert is at 8 p.m. at Tri-C Metro Campus Auditorium. http://www.tricjazzfest.com/
Randy Weston. Mosaic Select, c2004. [includes Uhuru Afrika]
African cookbook. Collectables, 1964, c2006.
Spirit of our ancestors. Antilles, 1992.
Earth birth. Verve, 1995.
Zep tepi. Random Chance, 2006.
Weinstein, Norman C. A night in Tunisia: imaginings of Africa in jazz. Limelight, 1994. [ML3506 .W44 1994]
Wilmer, Valerie. Jazz people. Da Capo, 1991. [ML3507 .W55 1991]
The adventures of Randy Weston. ed. Willard Jenkins. Duke Univ., (forthcoming).
Randy Weston: Live in St. Lucia. Image Entertainment, 2003.