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 distinguished 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, where he has performed in eighteen African countries, in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan, and for the Princess of Morocco, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the grand opening of a new library in Alexandria, Egypt. 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 Cuban percussionist Candido Camero, the Ghanian musicians Kofi Gnaba and Kwabena Nketia, the Gnawa musicians of Morocco, the novelist Paul Bowles, the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and many other artists.
A full discography of Weston's recordings includes song titles and the names of all of the musicians who performed on the records. With African Rhythms, an international jazz virtuoso creates cultural history again.