Placing Randy Weston into narrow, bop-derived categories only tells part of the story of this restless musician. Starting with the gospel of bop according to Thelonious Monk, Weston has gradually absorbed the letter and spirit of African and Caribbean rhythms and tunes, welding everything together into a searching, energizing, often celebratory blend. His piano work ranges across a profusion of styles from boogie-woogie through bop into dissonance, marking by a stabbing quality reminiscent of, but not totally indebted to, Monk.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Weston was surrounded by a rich musical community: he knew Max Roach, Cecil Payne, and Duke Jordan; Eddie Heywood lived across the street; Wynton Kelly was a cousin. Most influential of all was Monk, who tutored Weston upon visits to his apartment. Weston began working professionally in R&B bands in the late '40s before playing in the...Read more