Randy Weston has led a
distinguished career that has spanned the globe, with particular interest
and emphasis on Africa. After contributing nearly four decades of musical
direction and genius, Mr. Weston remains one of the world's foremost
pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary.
A disciple of Duke Ellington and his music, Mr. Weston’s formative years
were shaped by his mentorship with Thelonious Monk. Following early work
in R&B bands, including Bullmoose Jackson and Eddie Vinson, he also worked
with such jazz artists as Kenny Dorham and fellow Brooklynite Cecil Payne,
and in 1954 Mr. Weston became the first modern jazz artist to record for
the historic Riverside label.
Visiting parts of Africa in the early 60s and finally setting in Rabat,
Morocco in 1968, his artistry became infused with the continent's music
and its rhythms. His recording of
Uhuru Africa, text by Langston Hughes and arrangements by his
long-time partner and arranger/trombonist
Melba Liston , is considered to be a masterwork.
"For me, the most compelling aspect of African culture is its music,
magnificent in its power and diversity with drums African rhythms always
at the heart," says the artist. His compositional output is both large and
Many of his works have become indelible jazz standards, such as "Little
Niles," "Babe's Blues," "Berkshire Blues," and "Hi Fly," his greatest hit
that Mr. Weston says, is a "tale of being my height and looking down at
them ground." In 1995, Mr. Weston was nominated for a World Music
Grammy for "
The Master Gnawa Musicians of Morocco ". In addition to being a
master jazz artist, Mr. Weston is a pioneer in recognizing important
cultural connections and he continues to demonstrate ways to erode
barriers that separate nations.