Randy Weston & Billy Harper Duo “African Rhythms”; Thursday, November 21, 2013
Randy Weston & Billy Harper Duo
Thursday, November 21
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
“… real emotional power.” – The New York Times
Two of the jazz world’s most respected artists, Randy Weston and Billy Harper, team up for an evening of inventive piano/saxophone duets. After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world’s foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire. “Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat,” states jazz critic Stanley Crouch, “but his art is more than projection and time; it’s the result of a studious and inspired intelligence…an intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique.”
A disciple of Thelonious Monk, numerous visits to Africa and living in Morocco have brought a powerful African influence to Weston’s work, which includes the pioneering Africa-meets-jazz recording Afrika Uhuru with texts by poet Langston Hughes, and the spiritually-charged sessions African Cookbook, Blue Moses and Tanjah. In 1955, DownBeat magazine’s International Critics Poll voted him New Star in the piano category. In 2001, he was a recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master award.
Born in 1926, Randy Weston was in his late teens when bebop began to take shape in the mid-’40s. He cites Thelonious Monk as a major influence on his musical outlook, and also includes Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, and Nat King Cole, among his list of favorites. Weston gigged with a number of important musicians such as Kenny Dorham and Cecil Payne before striking off on his own as a bandleader. He began to incorporate African influences into his music in the early ’60s. In 1967, after finishing a tour of Africa, Randy settled in Morroco, and ran a nightclub there until 1972. Once back in the states, Weston continued composing, recording, and touring, often collaborating with trombonist/arranger Melba Liston on several of his critically-acclaimed projects. Now 87, Weston continues to tour and compose.
Saxophonist Billy Harper’s brilliant tone was burnished in the post-Coltrane era of the late ’60s and early ’70s, a turbulent time of change in jazz. Capable of constructing a whirlwind of high-energy improvisation, Harper is equally at home playing a down home blues, or a tender ballad. His passionate saxophone is a perfect foil for Weston’s deft rhythmic and harmonic explorations, as can be heard on The Roots of the Blues, the duo’s recently released studio recording. Harper’s sure-footed saxophone sound enhanced a number of top-notch ensembles over the years, including those led by Elvin Jones, Gil Evans, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, and his current collaborator Randy Weston. This partnership dates back to the summer of ’74. This musical collaboration is based as much on their mutual love of the darker hues of their respective instruments as it is their blues simpatico.
Randy Weston & Billy Harper Duo “African Rhythms”
DATE: Thursday, November 21, 2013
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $30/Adv $ 33/Door, No Comps
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227
Don Lucoff, DL Media
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