Randy Weston Celebrates 91st Birthday at Jazz Standard April 6-9
Don't miss the four-day birthday celebration for legendary pianist/composer Randy Weston April 6 – 9 when he and his African Rhythms Quintet, along with a stellar line up of special guests, take the stage at the Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street in Manhattan, for two sets nightly at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm.
The celebration kicks off Thursday, April 6, on Weston's actual birthday with TK Blue (alto saxophone/flute), Alex Blake (bass), Lewis Nash (drums) and Neil Clarke (African percussion). The party heats up with a different group of special guests each night. Candido Camera (congas), Min Xiao Feng (pipa), and Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet) lead the way on April 6 followed by Howard Johnson (tuba) and Kwaku (balafon) on Friday, April 7. Hassan Gnawa (guimbry and poetry) joins in the fun on Saturday. Saliou Souso (kora) and Ayodele Maakaru (Nubian Instruments) wrap up the celebration on Sunday, April 9. Malian vocalist Tampani will be on hand nightly.
An NEA Jazz Master, Doris Duke Impact Award recipient, United States Artist Fellow and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Weston has been laying down his distinctive rhythms since his first CD, Cole Porter in a Modern Mood, in 1954 right up to The African Nubian Suite, released in 2016. Throughout his prolific recording career, now in its 64th year, Weston has drawn connections between the jazz and blues that surrounded him while growing up in Brooklyn and the music of Africa, his ancestral homeland. The African Nubian Suite, his 50th album and first to be issued on his own African Rhythms label, is the most magnificent manifestation yet of his ongoing quest. Recorded in concert on Easter Sunday 2012 at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, where it was presented by the Institute of African American Affairs, the two-CD set lays out the history of the human race in music and words. He and narrator Wayne Chandler trace it back to Ardi, a woman who walked upright 4.4 million years ago in Nubia, a region along the Nile River that straddles parts of what are today Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
"The suite is saying, 'Let's start with our first mama, '" Weston explains. "The whole idea is that we're all so different on this planet, but in reality, we all look alike. If you look at the flowers and look at the insects, Mother Nature paints all the colors of her subjects. One is brown. This one is black. Whatever. We've got one nose, one mouth. The whole idea is we all come from the same place. We all come from Africa. It's scientifically true, culturally true."
Join in the 91st birthday celebration April 6 - 9 at the Jazz Standard for an exploration of Randy Weston's musical journey. For tickets and more information, log on to www.jazzstandard.com or call (212) 576-2232.
Upcoming performances include Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet at Yale University in New Haven, CT, on April 23; a Medgar Evers College Artist-in-Residence lecture and demonstration on Gnawa music with with guest Maalam Hassan on April 26; and Randy Weston African Rhythms Quintet on April 29 at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC.
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