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NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston

After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers of today, a true innovator and visionary.

By Up to Date, Feb 5, 2010



Born in Brooklyn N.Y., Randy Weston didn't have to travel far to hear early influential jazz giants like Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and of course, Duke Ellington. But his greatest influence, by far, was Thelonious Monk.

Weston talks about being tutored in his apartment by Monk, where every moment was a music lesson. Monk encouraged Weston to listen to music from all over the world, which he went on to do for the next five decades.

Weston left for Africa in 1961 where he traveled the continent and eventually settled in Morocco, opening a nightclub in Tangiers.

In the last portion of the program, Up to Date host Steve Kraske talks with Weston about the role of jazz in medical and spiritual healing, elements of his celebrated "Uhuru Africa Suite" (Weston's Opus Recording for United Artists now celebrating its 50th Anniversary) and its role as a spiritual healer.

Randy Weston remains one of the world's visionary pianists and composers, who continues to be an innovator and educator, touring throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe.

More about Randy Weston

About the NEA Jazz Masters:
The National Endowment for the Arts has supported jazz artists and organizations since 1969, providing millions of dollars in grants and awards. In 2004, the NEA significantly expanded its NEA Jazz Masters program and in 2005 created the NEA Jazz Masters Initiative, a comprehensive program of jazz support that includes the NEA Jazz Masters Award; NEA Jazz Masters Live, a series of multiple event engagements in selected communities, featuring NEA Jazz Masters; radio programming featuring NEA Jazz Masters; a compilation CD produced by Verve Music Group; educational resources through the NEA Jazz in the Schools program; publications and reports.


Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC. You can email him at Stephen.Steigman@classicalkc.org.
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