|Height:||203 cm (6' 8'')|
|Birth Day:||April 6, 1926|
|Height:||203 cm (6' 8'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
Randolph Edward Weston was born on April 6, 1926, to Vivian (née Moore) and Frank Weston and was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where his father owned a restaurant. His mother was from Virginia and his father was of Jamaican-Panamanian descent, a staunch Garveyite, who passed self-reliant values to his son. Weston studied classical piano as a child and took dance lessons. He graduated from Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he had been sent by his father because of the school's reputation for high standards. Weston took piano lessons from someone known as Professor Atwell who, unlike his former piano teacher Mrs Lucy Chapman, allowed him to play songs outside the classical music repertoire.
In the late 1940s Weston began performing with Bullmoose Jackson, Frank Culley and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. In 1951, retreating from the atmosphere of drug use common on the New York jazz scene, Weston moved to Lenox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. There at the Music Inn, a venue where jazz historian Marshall Stearns taught, Weston first learned about the African roots of jazz. He would return in subsequent summers to perform at the Music Inn, where he wrote his composition "Berkshire Blues", interacting with artists and intellectuals such as Geoffrey Holder, Babatunde Olatunji, Langston Hughes and Willis James, about which experience Weston said: "I got a lot of my inspiration for African music by being at Music Inn.... They were all explaining the African-American experience in a global perspective, which was unusual at the time."
Weston worked with Kenny Dorham in 1953 and in 1954 with Cecil Payne, before forming his own trio and quartet and releasing his debut recording as a leader in 1954, Cole Porter in a Modern Mood. He was voted New Star Pianist in DownBeat magazine's International Critics' Poll of 1955. Several fine albums followed, with the best being Little Niles near the end of that decade, dedicated to his children Niles and Pamela, with all the tunes being written in 3/4 time. Melba Liston, as well as playing trombone on the record, provided excellent arrangements for a sextet playing several of Weston's best compositions: the title track, "Earth Birth", "Babe's Blues", "Pam's Waltz", and others.
In the 1960s, Weston's music prominently incorporated African elements, as shown on the large-scale suite Uhuru Afrika (1960, with the participation of poet Langston Hughes) and Highlife (full title: Music from the New African Nations featuring the Highlife), the latter recorded in 1963, two years after Weston traveled for the first time to Africa, as part of a U.S. cultural exchange programme to Lagos, Nigeria (the contingent also including Langston Hughes, musicians Lionel Hampton and Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and singers Nina Simone and Brock Peters). On both these albums he teamed up with the arranger Melba Liston. Uhuru Afrika, or Freedom Africa, is considered a historic landmark album that celebrates several new African countries obtaining their Independence.
In 1967 Weston traveled throughout Africa with a U.S. cultural delegation. The last stop of the tour was Morocco, where he decided to settle, running his African Rhythms Club in Tangier for five years, from 1967 to 1972. He said in a 2015 interview: "We had everything in there from Chicago blues singers to singers from the Congo.... The whole idea was to trace African people wherever we are and what we do with music."
In 1972 he produced Blue Moses for the CTI Records, a best-selling record on which he plays electric keyboard. As he explained in a July 2018 interview, "We were still living in Tangier, so my son and I came from Tangier to do the recording, but when I got there, Creed Taylor said his formula is electric piano. I was not happy with that, but it was my only hit record. People loved it." In the summer of 1975, he played at the Festival of Tabarka in Tunisia, North Africa (later known as the Tabarka Jazz Festival), accompanied by his son Azzedin Weston on percussion, with other notable acts including Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1977 he participated in FESTAC, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, held in Lagos, Nigeria; other artists appearing there included Osibisa, Miriam Makeba, Bembeya Jazz, Louis Moholo, Dudu Pukwana, Donald Byrd, Stevie Wonder and Sun Ra.
Weston's first marriage, to Mildred Mosley, ended in divorce. His son Azzedin having predeceased him, Weston was survived by his wife Fatoumata Mbengue-Weston, whom he met in 1994; three daughters, Cheryl, Pamela and Kim; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
A five-night celebration of Weston's music took place at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1995, featuring gnawa musicians and a duet with saxophonist David Murray.
In 2002 Weston performed with bassist James Lewis for the inauguration of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt. During the same year he performed with Gnawa musicians at Canterbury Cathedral at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Weston also played at the Kamigamo Shrine in Japan in 2005.
Drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, Weston served three years from 1944, reaching the rank of staff sergeant, and was stationed for a year in Okinawa, Japan. On his return to Brooklyn he ran his father's restaurant, which was frequented by many jazz musicians. Among Weston's piano heroes were Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, and his cousin Wynton Kelly, but it was Thelonious Monk who made the biggest impact, as Weston described in a 2003 interview: "When I first heard Monk, I heard Monk with Coleman Hawkins. When I heard Monk play, his sound, his direction, I just fell in love with it. I spent about three years just hanging out with Monk. I would pick him up in the car and bring him to Brooklyn and he was a great master because, for me, he put the magic back into the music."
On June 21, 2009, he participated in a memorial at the Jazz Gallery in New York for Ghanaian drummer Kofi Ghanaba (formerly known as Guy Warren), whose composition "Love, the Mystery of..." Weston used as his theme for some 40 years.
In October 2010, Duke University Press published African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, "composed by Randy Weston, arranged by Willard Jenkins". It was hailed as "an important addition to the jazz historiography and a long anticipated read for fans of this giant of African American music, aka jazz." Reviewer Larry Reni Thomas wrote: "Randy Weston’s long-anticipated, much-talked-about, consciousness-raising, African-centered autobiography, African Rhythms, is a serious breath of fresh air and is a much-needed antidote in this world of mediocre musicians, and men. He takes the reader on a wonderful, exciting journey from America to Africa and back with the ease of a person who loved every minute of it. The book is hard to put down and is an engaging, pleasing literary work that is worthy of being required reading in any history or literature school course."
An African Nubian Suite (2017) is a recording of a concert at the Institute of African American Affairs of New York University on April 8, 2012, Easter Sunday, with Cecil Bridgewater, Robert Trowers, Howard Johnson, T. K. Blue, Billy Harper, Alex Blake, Lewis Nash, Candido, Ayodele Maakheru, Lhoussine Bouhamidy, Saliou Souso, Martin Kwaku Obeng, Min Xiao-Fen, Tanpani Demda Cissoko, Neil Clarke and Ayanda Clarke, and the poet Jayne Cortez. Describing it as an "epic work", the Black Grooves reviewer wrote that The African Nubian Suite "traces the history of the human race through music, with a narration by inspirational speaker Wayne B. Chandler, and introductions and stories by Weston in his role as griot.... Stressing the unity of humankind, Weston incorporates music that 'stretches across millennia'—from the Nubian region along the Nile Delta, to the holy city of Touba in Senegal, to China's Shang dynasty, as well as African folk music and African American blues.... In these troubling times when our nation is divided by politics, race and religion, Weston uses The African Nubian Suite as a vehicle to remind us of our common heritage: 'We all come from the same place – we all come from Africa.'"
In 2013, Sunnyside released Weston's album The Roots of the Blues, a duo session with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper. On November 17, 2014, as part of the London Jazz Festival, Weston played a duo concert with Harper at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Kevin Le Gendre in his review said the two musicians reached "the kind of advanced conversational intimacy only master players achieve."
In 2015 Weston was artist-in-residence at The New School in New York, participating in a lecture series, performing, and mentoring students.
Weston celebrated his 90th birthday in 2016 with a concert at Carnegie Hall, among other activities, and continued thereafter to tour and speak internationally. He performed at the Gnawa Festival in Morocco in April 2016, took part in the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, on June 2, and was among the opening acts at the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival. In July 2016 he was a keynote speaker at the 32nd World Conference of the International Society for Music Education in Glasgow.
Currently, Randy Weston is 96 years, 1 months and 11 days old. Randy Weston will celebrate 97th birthday on a Thursday 6th of April 2023. Below we countdown to Randy Weston upcoming birthday.