Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926 and cites Count Basie, Nat "King" Cole, Art Tatum, and, of course, Duke Ellington as his other piano heroes. It was Thelonious Monk, however, who had the greatest impact. He was the most original I ever heard," Weston remembers. He played like they must have played in Egypt 5000 years ago." In the 1950s, Randy Weston performed in New York and wrote many of his best loved tunes, including his greatest hit, Hi-Fly." Weston (who is 6'8") says the tune is a tale of being my height and looking down at the ground." Randy Weston has never failed to make the connections between African and American music. His dedication is due in large part to his father, Frank Edward Weston, who told his son that he was, an African born in America." He told me I had to learn about myself and about him and about my grandparents," Weston said in an interview, and the only way to do it was I'd have to go back to the motherland one day." Randy moved to Africa in the late 1960s. Though he settled in Morocco, he traveled throughout the continent tasting the musical fruits of other nations. At the end," Weston says, we all realized that our music was different but the same, because if you take out the African elements of bossa nova, samba, jazz, blues, you have nothing. To me, it's Mother Africa's way of surviving in the new world."
After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire.
Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat," states jazz critic Stanley Crouch, but his art is more than projection and time; it's the result of a studious and inspired intelligence...an intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique."
An exhibit wall" in Saint Peter's Living Room will tell the story of Randy Weston with memorabilia including photographs of Randy's life as a musician and African Music Anthropologist organized by photoarchivist Tad Hershorn of Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies.
All Nite Soul was originally created in 1970 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the creation of Jazz Vespers in 1965. The event has continued every year since then with hundreds of musicians performing and coming together in a jazz love fest." The Hungry Souls' Café, an important feature of the event, serves homemade Soul Food! All Nite Soul is held in October starting on the Sunday evening of Columbus Day weekend and continues into Monday morninghence the name All Nite Soul. Each year a major jazz icon is celebrated. Those celebrated in recent years include Dr. Billy Taylor, Benny Powell, Jane Nossette Jarvis, Joe Wilder and Frank Wess.
All Nite Soul 2011Honoring Randy Weston" takes place on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at Saint Peter's Church, 619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street).
5:00 PM: Jazz Vespers Free Will Offering; 7:00 PM: All Nite Soul Concert$20 Suggested DonationAdvance tickets at www.saintpeters.org/events; telephone 212 935 2200; E" train to Lexington Avenue or #6" to 51st Street
Friday, October 7 at 4 PM: Randy Weston is interviewed by David Schroeder followed by book signing of Randy Weston's African Rhythms, Barnes & Noble, 150 East 86th St. (at Lexington Ave.), NYCFree
The Jazz Ministry at Saint Peter's Church is a home for diverse individuals and communities which celebrates the dignity and vitality of Jazz, provides vibrant liturgy and pastoral care, and through intersecting partnerships, offers jazz programs, education and services. An outreach program of Saint Peter's Lutheran Church in New York City, The Jazz Ministry was founded in 1965 by the late Reverend John Garcia Gensel who created Jazz Vespers, a worship service featuring a wide range of jazz musicians that is held each Sunday at 5:00 PM. Our pastors include Amandus Derr, Jared Stahler, Kaji Spellman, Bill Eschen, Héctor Ribone, Kevin O'Hara and Jazz Pastor Emeritus Dale Lind. The Jazz Ministry thrives today with many events and programs such as All Nite Soul, Prez Fest, Jazz on the Plaza, Seminars for Musicians, Midtown Jazz at Midday, memorials, tributes, concerts, and others yet to be developed, to serve the jazz community.