Randy Weston

Randolph E. " Randy " Weston ( born April 6, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York City ) is an American jazz pianist and composer.

Life and work

Weston began his career in the late 1940s in the rhythm 'n' blues bands of Bull Moose Jackson, Frank " Floor Show " Culley and Cleanhead Vinson. In 1949 he worked with Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham in 1953, 1954 in Cecil Payne. Subsequently, he was employed by the record label Riverside ( 1954-55 ), then formed his own combo, with whom he recorded a first album for the label Dawn, and also gave lessons. He developed an interest in African culture, in 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival and visited in 1961 and 1963, Nigeria in 1967 and West and North Africa. He left in 1968 to settle in Morocco, and then - interrupted by a stay in the U.S. (1972 /73), where he among other things, appeared as guest soloist with Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert - live in Europe. The mid-1980s, he lived in Morocco again to return to the United States in the early 1990s.

Some of the compositions of Weston were already in the 1950s to standards, such as Hi-Fly and Little Niles. He was one of the first African-American musicians who not only African percussion, but on his record Uhuru Africa (1960, with among other things, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Yusef Lateef, Armando Peraza and Babatunde Olatunji ) and African (anti- colonialist ) recitation in Swahili and high Life (1963, with Booker Ervin ) also absorb African pop music in their works. Subsequent albums ( such as The Spirit of Our Ancestors (1991, with Dizzy Gillespie and Pharoah Sanders ) reflect the music of the Moroccan Gnawa brotherhoods. Over more than 30 years, Weston worked on its projects with the arranger Melba Liston. His son, the percussionist Azzedin Weston has contributed to some of his productions.

In 2001 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship.


  • Little Niles ( Blue Note ): 1958-59
  • High Life / Uhuru Afrika ( CD re-release ) 1963/1960
  • African Cookbook (Atlantic ): 1964.
  • Monterey, '66 ( Verve ): 1966.
  • Portraits of Duke Ellington ( Verve ): 1989.
  • Portraits of Thelonious Monk ( Verve ): 1989.
  • Self Portraits ( Verve ): 1989.
  • The Spirits of Our Ancestors ( Antilles ): 1991.
  • Volcano Blues ( Antilles ): 1993.
  • Saga ( Verve ): 1995.
  • Earth Birth ( Verve ): 1997.
  • Khepera ( Verve ): 1998.
  • Zep Tepi (Random Chance): 2006.
  • The Roots of the Blues (Universal Music France ): 2013, with Billy Harper