RANDY WESTON AFRICAN RHYTHMS
For me, the most compelling aspect of African culture. North, South, East
and West, is its music, magnificent in its power and diversity, with the «
true drums » — African Rhythms — always at the heart.
The music of no other civilization can rival that of Africa in the
complexity and subtlety of its rhythms. All modern music no matter what
it's called — jazz, gospel, Latin, rock, bossa nova, calypso, samba, soul,
the blues, even the « freedom » music of the avant-garde — is in debt to
It is a great honour, indeed, and I am very glad to have the opportunity,
though it is a very difficult task, to present an artist as exceptional,
as famous in the United States, well known in Africa and now, as popular
among the European fans, as Randy Weston!
Thus, would I advise the jazz amateurs and the music lovers, all those who
have not had yet the privilege of hearing this fantastic artist in the
flesh, to listen carefully to this L.P. record before reading these lines
(if it could ever teach them anything or convince them).
Randy Weston is considered to be a « musician's musician », meaning a
musician who was and still is admired and respected by all his colleagues,
even before he had had time to reach the public. (Art Tatum and Eddie
South were — and still are through their recordings — among this category
In Europe and particularly in France, Randy Weston won this kind of
recognition as soon as his records had been published and distributed.
This recognition increased in huge proportion after he had been one of the
main features of the Montreux and Antibes-Juan-les-Pins International jazz
Festivals in July 1974.
Myself, about two years after, I promoted a concert featuring Randy in an
over packed concert hall. At the end of this concert, the audience,
demanded more and more and the pianist had to leave the stage before the
long and frantic standing . ovation was over. The same thing happened at
the concert Randy played, surrounded, this time, by a jazz orchestra, in
the biggest concert hall of Radio France radio station.
In the United States of America, Randy Weston was part of all the great
musical events, such as the international jazz Festivals in Monterey and
in Newport. He played in Carnegie Hall as well as in Philharmonic
Hall. He has performed in the most exclusive jazz clubs of U.S.A. ; and
has toured all over America.
In 1972, Randy Weston organized the Music Festival in Tangier (where he
lived for 6 years), he also opened the « African Rhythms Club » in order
to project the beauty of African music. He performed and lectured in
Nigeria, in 1961 and 1963. In 1967 Randy Weston and his sextet made a 3
month concert tour of 15 countries in West and North Africa as part of the
U.S. State Department's Cultural Presentation Program.
Prolific composer, pianist gifted with a tremendous technique Randy Weston
is one of the rare artists who has thorough and deep knowledge of the rich
and complex tradition of Afro-American music (spirituals, gospel songs,
traditional blues, rhythm and blues, soul music), of jazz, of occidental
classical music, of the different forms of African music, as well as
berberian, arable, moorish, Islamic traditions.
One of the truly greatest artists in the long history of Afro-American
By Maurice Cullaz
President of the Academy of Jazz
Was composed by one of Randy Weston's dearest friends : Bobby Benson, a
composer who is very popular in Nigeria. Bobby Benson directs, with a lot
of talent and energy, his own club in Lagos, where all the gifted numerous
young musicians of Nigeria get together. Randy recorded this composition
for the first time in 1964 with his sextet. This Bobby Benson's
composition, according to Randy, represents exactly what is called « high
life style » in West Africa. This time Randy recorded it in solo.
PORTRAIT OF VIVIAN
This Randy Weston's composition was composed in 1960. « I wrote Portrait
of Vivian for my mother, but it wasn't really created until Booker Ervin
played it and left us a masterpiece of the tenor saxophone, a classic »
recalls Randy. And it is a double homage rendered with the tremedous
interpretation Randy plays for us.
A swinging chef who danced and prepared great steaks while Randy played
this tune. So therefore, he named the melody « Willie's Tune ». Randy
performes a funny introductary children's song before the melody of
This composition has been often played and recorded by Randy Weston
directing his band. It is the second time that be records it in solo.
Randy composed it in 1958. It is probably, the most popular of all his
compositions along side with « Little Niles ».
THE MAN I LOVE
One of the most played standards by George Gershwin. It is a marvellous
demonstration of Randy's creativity and of the impact of his personality
on a popular musical theme.
Special thanks to my father Frank Edward Weston and Franco Fayenz
1978 Randy Weston