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Remembering Jazz Pianist Randy Weston

Sep 4, 2018
Originally published on September 3, 2018 7:26 am
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(SOUNDBITE OF RANDY WESTON COMPOSITION)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, this morning we are remembering the jazz pianist Randy Weston.

(SOUNDBITE OF RANDY WESTON COMPOSITION)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Weston died Saturday at his home in Brooklyn at the age of 92. He regarded jazz as an extension of African music, and he devoted more than half a century to exploring the links between American and African songs. Here's Weston speaking with NPR last year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

RANDY WESTON: I wonder how it's possible we could come here in America in chains, our ancestors - couldn't speak English, couldn't speak French - how they were able to take European instruments and do something that had never happened before. When I hear African traditional music, I get the message.

GREENE: Weston spread this message from the Moroccan city of Tangier where he ran a performance venue, the African Rhythms Cultural Center. Returning to the states, he released a series of critically acclaimed recordings, including a tribute to one of his musical heroes, Duke Ellington. And Weston's own legacy is grounded in African rhythms, according to his biographer, Willard Jenkins.

WILLARD JENKINS: While a lot of musicians are constantly seeking something new, Randy found sustenance in ancient traditions.

(SOUNDBITE OF RANDY WESTON'S "MYSTERY OF LOVE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.