Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

WESTON, Randy

(b 6 April '26, Brooklyn, NY) Pianist, composer, teacher with unique voice, infl. by Thelonious Monk, interest in African and West Indian music. Greatly underrated. Best-known tunes incl. 'Saucer Eyes', 'Hi- Fly', 'Little Niles', 'Babe's Blues', 'Cry Me Not', 'African Cook Book'. Worked with Art Blakey late '40s, others; led own trios/quartets since '55, playing many colleges, museums, festivals; visited Nigeria '61, '63; ran a club in Tangiers '70, back in USA '72. Recorded for UA, Jubilee, Dawn, Roulette, Colpix, own Bakton label (sessions issued on Atlantic), all '56--64; Riverside LPs mid-'50s incl. Get Happy, With These Hands, Jazz la Bohemia, sidemen incl. Blakey, Cecil Payne; How High The Moon '56 on Biograph added Ray Copeland. Later LPs incl. Berkshire Blues on Black Lion (sessions recorded for Arista '64--5, Blues '67 on Trip with Copeland and others; Carnival -- aka Live At Montreux '74 -- with quintet; also solo 'Tribute To Ellington') and solo Blues To Africa on Arista/Freedom; Tanjah and African Rhythms on Polydor; Blue Moses on CTI; African Cookbook on Atlantic; similar solo sets African Night on Owl, Nuit Africaine on Enja '75 recorded in Paris. Perspective '76 on Denon was a duo with Vishnu Wood on bass. There were several more European or obscure albums incl. solo sets; the nine-piece band incl. Copeland, Budd Johnson etc playing Tanjah '73 was reissued on Verve CD, and a new deal with Verve resulted in a brilliant series of albums: Portraits Of Thelonious Monk, Of Duke Ellington and Self Portraits were recorded on successive days '89 with Jamil Nasser on bass, Idris Muhammad on drums, Eric Asante on percussion; two-CD The Spirits Of Our Ancestors '91 had an eleven-piece band arr. by Melba Liston plus guests Dizzy Gillespie and Pharoah Sanders (African Sunrise on Antilles incl. selections from Ancestors; 11-piece The Splendid Master Gnawa Musicians Of Morocco was also on Antilles, as was Volcano Blues with a different eleven pieces incl. Teddy Edwards, Ted Dunbar, Hamiet Bluiett, Wallace Roney etc); solo set Marrakech In The Cool Of The Evening '92 followed duo, trio and quartet tracks on Saga '95 on Verve, the best kind of music: both serious and good fun. Sextet Monterey '66 with Copeland and Payne was issued '93; Earth Birth '97 had a trio with strings arr. by Liston, both on Verve.