The Work of Randy Weston

WED, NOV 9, 2016 (00:00)

The Hutchins Jazz Research Initiative, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard Office for the Arts, and Harvard College Library welcome pianist and composer Randy Weston to celebrate the university’s acquisition of his historic archive of papers, scores, recordings, and photographs. Beginning with highlights from the collection, a conversation and with Randy Weston, Professor Ingrid Monson and historian Robin D. G. Kelly, transitions to a performance by Weston and his African Rhythms Quintet

As one of the first African American musicians to deeply engage with his musical roots in Africa, Randy Weston occupies a pivotal place in American music. A pianist of powerful intensity and originality, Weston emerged from a thriving musical scene in 1950s Brooklyn, which included Max Roach, George Russell, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Miles Davis. His most enduring musical influence is Thelonious Monk, who nurtured his talent. He went on to tour five continents and collaborate with luminaries such as Langston Hughes.

The Randy Weston Archive includes documentation from all periods of Weston’s prolific career, including original compositions and arrangements by his collaborators, such as trombonist Melba Liston; along with musical recordings from festivals, club and concert hall performances, and informal occasions such as rent parties and rehearsals. Printed ephemera include original flyers, handbills, posters and programs, all providing a visually evocative portrait of the jazz scene of the 1960s and 1970s. The archive also contains materials from Weston's activities in Africa, such as correspondence, photographs, business records, and recordings.

+ BIO: Randy Weston

Pianist and composer Randy Weston occupies a pivotal place in American music. A pianist of powerful intensity and originality, Weston emerged from a thriving musical scene in 1950s Brooklyn, which included Max Roach, George Russell, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Miles Davis. His most enduring musical influence is Thelonious Monk, who nurtured his talent. He went on to tour five continents and collaborate with luminaries such as Langston Hughes.

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