When Randy Weston plays / a combination of strength and gentleness / virility and velvet emerges from the keys in an ebb and flow of sound / seemingly as natural as the waves of the sea." Langston Hughes
BROOKLYN, NY: TRANSART, Inc. announced today that its annual Jazz Treasures program will take place on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm at The Rotunda in Brooklyn Borough Hall (located at 209 Joralemon Street in downtown Brooklyn). This year's event will include an awards program, a VIP reception, and live music. The highlight of the evening will be a tribute to Brooklyn's own Randy Weston, a world-renowned jazz pianist and composer who was selected as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2001. Credited with creating the Brooklyn sound, Weston is also the 2011 Guggenheim Fellow for the Creative Arts.
Other awardees are Dr. Robert O'Meally (Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, and Founder/Former Director, Columbia's Center for Jazz Studies) and Charenee Wade (2010 2nd Place Winner, Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition). Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, and Danny Simmons, Chairman Emeritus, New York State Council on the Arts are honorary co-chairs. The host committee, chaired by activist and writer Kevin Powell, includes great African American influencers from a variety of fields, including award-winning poets and activists Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez; Jitu Weusi, Co-Founder of The Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium; James Mtume, jazz and R&B musician and Co-Host of Open Line on KISS FM; and Marc Lamont Hill, Columbia University Professor and Host of Our World with Black Enterprise. Sharif Abdus Salaam, Host of Jazz Alternatives on WKCR-FM is the Master of Ceremonies. Performances will feature saxophonist Salim Washington, Charenee Wade, and others.
Admission ranges from $20 to $50. For more information, please call 845.384.6350.
More About Randy Weston
With a career span that covers more than six decades, Randy Weston is one of the world's foremost pianists and composers and is recognized as a true innovator and visionary. Perhaps the Newport Jazz Festival newsletter said it best: Sitting at the top of the ivory throne [in the jazz world] is the majestic, octogenarian pianist/composer Randy Weston: The music's most profound living link to Africa, born in Brooklyn to parents whose roots are in Jamaica, Panama, and the American south. Pianistically, he is a descendant of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Nat King Cole and John Lewis.... [He] is anchored in the ancient, ancestral ache of the blood, sweat, and tears of his people. Mr. Weston has written some of the most identifiable jazz standards of the modern era, including the hip-notizing Little Niles, and the immortally cool Hi-Fly. Unlike a lot of people who talk about Africa, Weston actually lived [there], ran a jazz club in Morocco, and established life links with the mysterious Gnawa musicians of that country."
Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn in 1926. He cites Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and Duke Ellington as piano heroes, yet says that Thelonious Monk had the greatest impact. His first recording as a band leader came in 1954 on Riverside Records and it was about this time that he played around New York and wrote many of his best loved tunes: Saucer Eyes, Pam's Waltz, Little Niles, Hi-Fly. The latter is a tale about being my height and looking down at the ground," says the 6' 8 jazz master.
About Jazz Treasures and Event Purpose
Musicians and scholars recognize jazz as America's original music, created and developed by Black people who trace their ancestral and cultural lineage to Africa. Having once enjoyed prominence on the popular music scene, jazz is not widely embraced nor understood today by its would-be heirs. TRANSART seeks to change that. In keeping with its mission, TRANSART promotes and preserves jazz culture throughout New York. Jazz Treasures is one of TRANSART's successful programs that accomplishes this goal.
Greer Smith, founder of TRANSART, explains the motivation behind this event I wanted to create an event that not only honors legendary and upcoming jazz musicians, but one that creates a space for African American youth, in particular, to learn about their musical heritage. This tribute is a people's celebration. It's inter-generational on purpose and it's based in Brooklyn on purpose, yet it's for everyone." Addressing the relevance of jazz culture, Smith adds: Historically, Brooklyn has been fertile ground for this culture, a culture that has shaped a music that is treasured worldwide. Acknowledging Randy Weston for his work in consistently promoting jazz and its African roots is a way to say thank you and to introduce him to a generation via his music and his humanity."
Jazz Treasures 2011 Host Committee | Sharif Abdus-Salaam, Adeyemi Bandele, Lumumba Bandele, Amiri Baraka, Wanda Burgess, Khephra Burns, NYS Assemblyman Karim Camara, Jo Ann Cheatham, Laurie Cumbo, Olu Dara, Camille Evans, Bernice Green, Richard Green, Brenda M. Greene, Roger Greene, Marc Lamont Hill, Delridge Hunter, NYC Councilwoman Letitia Tish" James, Robert H. Johnson, Richard Jones, Don Quinn Kelley, Marline Martin, Carolyn McClair, James Mtume, Sam Pinn, Laura Rice, Sonia Sanchez, April R. Silver, Ernest Skinner, Quincy Troupe, Khalia Washington, Salim Washington, Jitu Weusi, NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams. Host Chair: Kevin Powell