Randy Weston Zep Tepi, The Randy Weston African Rhythms Trio
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- Released: March 21, 2006
- Originally Released: 2006
- Label: Random Chance
Down Beat - p.744 stars out of 5 -- "[With] Weston setting the mood on piano. He plays thoughtfully while leaving space for Blake to lay down parts that border sometimes on miraculous."
Global Rhythm (Publication) (p.45) - "[H]e's been unbelievably successful in bringing bop and the blues into a holistic, organic coexistence with the music of north and west Africa."
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Randy Weston: Randy Weston (piano); Alex Blake (acoustic bass); Neil Clarke (percussion).
Randy Weston revisits a number of his earlier works with his African Rhythms Trio, though this session is no mere rehashing of old favorites. With bassist Alex Blake and African hand percussionist Neil Clarke, Weston hardly sounds like a man nearing his 80th birthday, as his playing is still very distinctive and full of marvelous dark chords and infectious rhythms. The CD opens with effective extended workouts of "Blue Moses" and "African Sunrise," with the leader ducking out during Blake's potent solo in the former. Weston still uncovers new facets within his decades-old compositions "Berkshire Blues" and "High Fly." His two solo piano features include the mysterious "Route of the Nile," which defies prediction, along with a playful but sincere tribute to Thelonious Monk (an early influence) called "Ballad for T" that incorporates a bit of Monk's music into its framework (including snatches of "Ruby, My Dear"). "Portrait of Frank Edward Weston" is a boisterous African dance saluting the composer's father, who gave him his first piano lessons and lifelong encouragement. The only non-Weston piece of the date is the closer, "Love, the Mystery Of," which adds an African chant by producer Paul West and liner note writer Yaa-Lengi M. Ngemi. Any fan of Randy Weston will want to snap up this CD without hesitation, while it also can serve as an excellent introduction to new jazz fans not yet familiar with his considerable contributions as a pianist, composer, and promoter of African-inspired music. ~ Ken Dryden
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