Randy Weston in Concert and Conversation

By
Allen Bush
September 15, 2011
Randy Weston will base his conversations and set lists on his African influences.

The Berklee Global Jazz Institute and NEA Jazz Masters Live present Randy Weston: Storyteller, two days of music and conversation with the world-renowned pianist and composer whose music is deeply inspired by his African heritage. NEA Jazz Master Weston will base his presentations on the autobiography African Rhythms at the Boston Public Library on September 28 and at Berklee College of Music on September 29. The events are free and open to the public.

At the Boston Public Library on September 28, in the Rabb Lecture Hall, at 6:30 p.m., Weston will perform with his trio and read from African Rhythms. He'll sign books following the program.

At Berklee's David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, on September 29, at 2:00 p.m., Weston will discuss his life and music in the clinic Musician as Storyteller. Topics will include his spiritual connection to African ancestors and jazz's African roots.

This special series is sponsored by the Berklee Global Jazz Institute and supported by NEA Jazz Masters Live, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest that celebrates the living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz. For more information, visit neajazzmasters.org.

Berklee Global Jazz Institute artistic director Danilo Perez envisions the residency as a public celebration of Weston as an artist and a showcase for his piano mastery. "Randy Weston, a true keeper of the African heritage for over six decades, is one of the few living legends of jazz history," says Perez. "His piano sound speaks loud and clear the message of cultural diversity, globalization, and the importance of Africa in the history of jazz music."

After 60-plus years of musical direction and genius, NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers, a true innovator and visionary. Many of his compositions, such as "Hi Fly" and "Berkshire Blues," are considered jazz standards. The Brooklyn-born Weston spent most of his illustrious career combining the rich music of the African continent with the African-American tradition of jazz, mixing rhythms and melodies into a rich musical stew. His interest in the African continent was sparked at an early age, and he lectured and performed there in the 1960s. As Weston noted in his autobiography, published in 2010, "I'm really a storyteller through music and I've had some amazing and unique experiences. When it comes to considering those experiences together, my quest is always in the spirit of our ancestors."