INFORMAL SOLO PIANO
In the summer of 1974
Randy Weston made his first tour of Europe. That June, July and August
marked the beginning of his performing for continental audiences. Along
with his group made up of W.Allen b, A.Abdul Malik b, oud and S.Barrios
Randy entertained at the festivals in Kronsberg / Norway, Montreux/
Switzerland (where he added Billy Harper fl, sax and D.Moyer dr,) Costa
del Sol, Marbella/Spain, Arhus-Festival/Sweden and Antibes-Juan les
Pins/France, where he played solo-piano, becoming acclaimed by many
Randy calls his music African Rhythms ,a title which he sees as being more
accurate, and more pleasing to himself than the better-known label jazz.
In his search for the root or source of music, he made several trips
throughout Africa, collecting folklore and various sounds. All of which he
found to be tied in with the black jazz, gospel, soul music of the US,
calypso in the Caribbean and rhythms of South America. Wherever black
people are, the heritage - the final note - always lies in Africa. Randy
settled in Morocco. He made Tangier his home, and also the scene for his
club, the African Rhythms Cultural Center for six years.
Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn,NY. Brooklyn is the home of many fine
contemporary musicians: Max Roach, Ray Copeland, Cecil Payne, Duke Jordan,
to name a few..
We can assume that the atmosphere there must have been fantastic, a sort
of musical aroma. Randy began his professional playing career in the early
50's. He doesn't think that any particular artist had a direct influence
on his composing/ playing, although he speaks greatly of his first loves:
Bill Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Nat Cole and Thelonious Monk - whom he met
through Hawkins - and at whose place he used to go in and out together
with Herbie Nichols and Oscar Dennard, playing in turn any time of the
night or day... Strangely enough, he only discovered later the one whom he
calls a master of rhythm and sound: Art Tatum. And then the Duke, whom he
got to know quite a bit. And the Spiritual, and AFRIKA...
Randy is known as a lecturer, composer and of course as an excellent
pianist, imaginative, sensitive and especially creative. Versatile Randy
is an experience, whether he plays solo piano or conducting a full
orchestra such as at Newport 1973, where he! performed his hew composition
Tanjah, or at the Lincoln Center Philharmonic Hall NY, when he celebrated
National Black Week, performing his Uhuru Afrika-suite. He has been the
recipient of a number of awards; among them the nomination in '74 for the
annual "Grammy" - award on behalf of his Tanjah-album, category of best
performance by a big band. His best known compositions are Hi-Fly, Little
Niles, Tanjah, Blue Moses and African Cookbook.
The music in this first solo-piano album to be released is a reflection of
many things: of the summer, Europe, Africa, new acquaintances. This is
music played with humor, nostalgia ; intriguing, never dull. The time :
two o'clock in the morning, lengthening shadows, mysterious moods.
Recorded 11 July 1974; after dinner, after conversation.
NIGHT IN TUNISIA was inspired by my love of the great Dizzy Gillespie; and
to me this tune certainly is a classic in the world of modern music. On my
musical trip I have tried to create the mood and rhythm of North Africa. I
was thinking of Dizzy and his tremendous musical genius.
WILLIE'S TUNE is a melody I wrote in the early sixties, but I could not
think of a title. As I was playing that tune one night with my trio of
B.Wood and L. McBrowne in a place called "Avaloch" across from Tangle-wood
in the Berkshires, I noticed the chef cooking steaks and dancing .in
rhythm to the tune. It was such an incredible -pleasure that I named it
after him: Willie Heywood.
AFRICAN lady is part of the Uhuru Afrika - suite, I wrote this in tribute
African Lady wherever she may be. The words, beautiful words were written
by Langston Hughes: in praise of her beauty and strength of direction.
BLUES FOR SENEGAL was inspired by my first trip to Dakar, where I heard. a
drummer of the Walof-tribe play five Africa- drums with added percussion
on his wrists. Some of the most incredible sounds I've ever heard. I ran
back to my hotel, grabbed my son who had been asleep; he was studying
drums at the time, to come and hear him. He liked the rhythms so much that
he learned them and I wrote a melody to go with it. HOW HIGH THE MOON is a
standard-composition that was played constantly by jazz musicians in the
late 40's and 50's: it was the perfect "jam"--song. While playing I
thought about that period of time in New York, of Dizzy, Thelonious Monk
and Charlie Parker. The era of modern music called be-bop.
KASBAH KIDS : the children of Tangier are really fantastic. I have had the
experience of seeing children anywhere from eight years old speak five or
six languages, and the dialect as well; Whenever I walked in the Casbah or
the Medina, the children were always around me saying;
hey brother/ what's happen in' or give me some skin...
DO NOTHIN'TIL YOU HEAR FROM ME strikes me two ways: firstly as one Of my
favorite songs by Duke Ellington. I discovered it being sung beautifully
by Al Hibbler. Then, there was the funeral of Langston Hughes. I was asked
to play along with my trio of Bill Wood and Ed Blackwell. It was found
that in Langston's will he had requested that as a final song for us to
THREE BLIND MICE: I ended up with this because that night there were many
blind mice around. Also I like it because it's a fabulous children's song;
it makes a good jazz lesson.
WHERE is a spiritual written in the late 50's; a religious song which says
: Where oh where
Where can a man find a friend
When will his troubles end
Oh Lord please tell me where
Jon Hendricks wrote the lyrics and I had the pleasure of recording it with
Coleman Hawkins, Roy Hayne's and Kenny Dorham.
This performance was
strictly improvised; it was recorded without benefit of a studio
I played through the songs, melodies and rhythms, according to mood.
Taped in the home of Ms. Colette Giacomotti, in the charming city of
Annecy / France,
with the help of Paul, who used his Revox-77 machine and two Sony