African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston (Google eBook)

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Duke University Press, Sep 14, 2010 - Music - 326 pages
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The pianist, composer, and bandleader Randy Weston is one of the world’s most influential jazz musicians and a remarkable storyteller whose career has spanned five continents and more than six decades. Packed with fascinating anecdotes, African Rhythms is Weston’s life story, as told by him to the music journalist Willard Jenkins. It encompasses Weston’s childhood in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood—where his parents and other members of their generation imbued him with pride in his African heritage—and his introduction to jazz and early years as a musician in the artistic ferment of mid-twentieth-century New York. His music has taken him around the world: he has performed in eighteen African countries, in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, in the Canterbury Cathedral, and at the grand opening of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina: The New Library of Alexandria. Africa is at the core of Weston’s music and spirituality. He has traversed the continent on a continuous quest to learn about its musical traditions, produced its first major jazz festival, and lived for years in Morocco, where he opened a popular jazz club, the African Rhythms Club, in Tangier.

Weston’s narrative is replete with tales of the people he has met and befriended, and with whom he has worked. He describes his unique partnerships with Langston Hughes, the musician and arranger Melba Liston, and the jazz scholar Marshall Stearns, as well as his friendships and collaborations with Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, the novelist Paul Bowles, the Cuban percussionist Candido Camero, the Ghanaian jazz artist Kofi Ghanaba, the Gnawa musicians of Morocco, and many others. With African Rhythms, an international jazz virtuoso continues to create cultural history.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Origins
5
Growing Up in Brooklyn
18
The Scene Shifts to the Pacific
28
Postwar Escaping the Panic
37
Post Berkshires Succumbing to the Irresistible Lure
55
Enter Melba Liston
70
Uhuru Afrika Freedom Africa
82
Festival Blues Then Divine Intervention Blue Moses
194
PostMorocco and the Ellington Connection
206
Compositions and Sessions
218
The African Rhythms Quintet
233
The African Queen
250
The Adventures of Randy Weston
260
Ancient Future
276
Randy Weston Philosophically Yours
297

Making the Pilgrimage
102
Touring the Motherland
114
Making a Home in Africa
135
Connecting with the Gnawa
171
Building a Life in Tangier The African Rhythms Club
183
Discography
303
Awards and Citations
321
Index
323
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Randy Weston is an internationally renowned pianist, composer, and bandleader living in Brooklyn, New York. He has made more than forty albums and performed throughout the world. Weston has been inducted into the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame, designated a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, and named Jazz Composer of the Year three times by DownBeat magazine. He is the recipient of many other honors and awards, including France’s Order of Arts and Letters, the Black Star Award from the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana, and a five-night tribute at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Willard Jenkins is an independent arts consultant, producer, educator, and print and broadcast journalist. His writing has been featured in JazzTimes, DownBeat, Jazz Report, Jazz Forum, All About Jazz, Jazzwise, and many other publications. He contributed two chapters to Ain’t Nothing like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment.

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