Randy Weston

American jazz pianist and composer (1926, Brooklyn)

Randy Weston is an essential artist in jazz music. He has been composing for almost sixty years, in a style characterised by a synthesis of American jazz mixed with African elements.

Randy Weston is a musician of Jamaican origins who was born in Brooklyn and quickly introduced to the world of jazz music. He collaborated with the greatest names of jazz including Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Thelonious Monk. After the release of his album Uhuru Afrika, based on elements such as African percussions and rhythms, he decided to travel throughout Africa to reconnect with his origins. He took part in a festival in Nigeria, which gave him the opportunity to discover how artists from very different styles (jazz, blues, samba…) could preserve their African heritage in their composition process. He has been mixing jazz with African music ever since.

After his debut recording Cole Porter in a modern mood, Weston kept on composing and performing all around the globe. His fame led him to perform in several festivals, such as the Pan African Dance Festival - where he was appointed cultural ambassador - the Panama Jazz Festival or the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London with the BBC Big Band. He has been the recipient of many awards throughout his life and was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by the Brooklyn College in 2006, receiving the same degree from Colby College in 2012 and from the New England Conservatory of Boston in 2013. He has performed with his African Rhythms Club all around the world.

5 landmark dates in the life of Randy Weston

• 1960: Recorded the album Uhuru Afrika

• 1974: First collaboration with Billy Harper

• 1977: Nigerian festival

• 2006: Was awarded his first honorary degree of Doctor of Music

• 2010: Concert for the anniversary of his album Uhuru Afrika.

5 key recordings by Randy Weston

• 1954: Cole Porter in a Modern Mood

• 1999: Spirit! The power of music.

• 2005: Zep Tepi

• 2010: The Storyteller

• 2013: The Roots of the Blues, a duo session with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper

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