Saga is a recording of
high energy and creativity. Adding yet another chapter to his
ever-evolving story, of the music Randy takes a different turn on this
recording. Saga is a vibrant celebration of life. In the Saga Wolof
language, according to Randy, Saga means coming together "or coming home."
It's celebratory spirit is, in part, due to the rich excitement created
the week before by Randy and some of the African Rhythms musicians in
Toronto, Canada, where Randy played for a week at the Top 'O the senator
jazz club. Due to the great enthusiasm and eager anticipation shown by
Randy Weston’s fans, and also to the Adept.
Successful media blitz created and perpetuated by Michael Ikeda, Randy was
very well-received in Toronto in April 1994. It was also the week of his
birthday when he became a radiant, youthful 69 years young. The Toronto
gig was more like a party to celebrate not only his birthday but another
chapter to his unending story of the music and its African origins.
However, although Randy didn't plan it that way, this gig also served as a
warm-up for Randy and some of the musicians who participated on the
recording session of Saga. The musical director for the recording,
Talib Kibwe, percussionist
Neil Clarke, bassist
Alex Blake and Randy Weston all had the chance to capture that spirit
of high energy that They continued to boost at the recording of Saga in
New York at the hit factory studios before joining the rest of the cast of
musicians : Billy Harper, saxophone, Billy Higgins, drums, and
Benny Powell, trombone.
AB0UT THE MUSIC
The Beauty of it All
This song is a beautiful ballad. I wanted to do something slow and pretty.
Its about the beauty of life and the whole spiritual process. This piece
features Billy Harper on saxophone."
Loose Wig its an old tune that goes back to the '50's actually. I
think that when you hear this tune you hear the strong monk influence. It
features myself and Billy Harper. Billy is such a great saxophone player.
He plays those quick changes. What inspired me to write it, well, I was
living in a surrounding that was really crazy, early '50's, not too long
after the war, So it kind of describes a state of mind with a sense of
humor, loose wig!'
This song features
Talib Kibwe on saxophone. It was created in the late 60's, about 1968.
The house that I lived in faced Spain, the straits of Gibraltar, and on a
clear morning you could see the sun rise, but the biggest sun I ever saw,
just huge. The story of Tangier Bay is that the first part is the morning
and you see the glimmer of the rays of the sun, and the sun is orange, and
by the time the sun rises that's when Tangier starts to come to life, and
that's when we go into the rhythms at the market and everyday life.
Written about my dad in the 50's, a slow blues with the piano and trombone
featuring myself and
Uncle Nemo is a grand old man with a long white beard and a cane,
and it was some music playing somewhere and he started doing the
Charleston. So his name is Uncle Nemo. This features myself and Billy
Higgins on drums.
Night in M'bari
'This song is a 50's tune. I used to go to this bar, and there was this
barmaid who had really large eyes-saucer eyes. Its like a battle of the
two saxophones where they challenge each other. The piano sets the
beginning with a melody. It was that period of adjustment after I had come
back from the army.'
3 Pyramids & the Sphinx
Alex Blake and myself are featured on this song dedicated to Cheikh
Anta Diop. It's a real, beautiful, mysterious piece. ('Cheikh Anta Diop
was the first scientist to prove the African origin of civilization,
particularly in Egypt through the disciplines of archeology, anthropology,
linguistics, chemistry and physics. Born in Senegal, dr. Diop was the
director of the radio-carbon laboratory at the Institut fondamental
d’Afrique Noire, at the University of Dakar, Senegal. He was educated at
the University of Paris, France and at the University of Dakar.)
Casbah Kids are those kids in Tangier, Morocco whom I first met.
You know kids are sometimes attracted to giants, so I’d walk through the
Casbah and all these kids would be following me. Wonderful kids up in the
Casbah. This song is a happy, funny little tune featuring myself on piano
Talib Kibwe on flute.
This is a piece with Neil and myself about a village in Morocco in the Rif
mountains where a group of musicians by that name live. They play there,
they practice there. They cure people there, and this song is to honor
The gathering is like when all the chiefs come together, another
global view of African people, gathering to prepare a vision of our
1995 by Randy Weston as told to Rhashidah E. McNeill