Jazz Duo-Piano Series with Randy Weston and Rodney Kendrick


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New York, NY, 1/02/04––The Kaufman Center presents Monday Nites––No Minimum, a jazz series exploring the uncommon two-piano format. The four-evening series, featuring evocative pairings of a jazz piano legend with a contemporary star, kicked off on December 8 with Andrew Hill and Jason Moran performing for a full house. The series continues on Monday, February 9, with Randy Weston and Rodney Kendrick.

Kendrick considers himself to be disciple of Weston’s music and style. Weston is a living legend whose musical mentors were Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Kendrick, who has perhaps studied Weston’s repertoire more than any other, considers Weston to be one of his “fathers” along with other such living legends as Barry Harris, Chris Anderson and Gil Coggins. The New York Times enthused, “Eccentricity is an unusual trait in jazz nowadays . . . Rodney Kendrick flirts with the avant-garde but is also enamored with the richness of swing . . .”

Regarding his forthcoming piano duet with Weston, Kendrick anticipates, “It can’t be anything but a learning experience, just to relinquish the spirit and go wherever (Weston) wants to go. He’s a master. The potential for this is amazing. “Anything can happen,” reiterates the 77-year-old Weston who embodies jazz history and represents the African roots and tradition of jazz like no other. Downbeat proclaimed, “When his solo music grows contemplative, it never loses its sense of inherent tension, internal drama and communicative strength . . . Weston always had one of the most palpable touches in jazz.”

Single tickets are $35; a three-concert subscription is $80. Merkin Concert Hall is located at 129 West 67 Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam. Call the Box Office at 212 501 3330 or order online at www.kaufman-center.org.

About Randy Weston
Randy Weston is one of the world’s foremost pianists and composers encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa. The 1990’s witnessed a string of recordings that exhibit his pioneering musical aspiration. Most notably, the release of Earth Birth, featuring The Montreal String Orchestra, and the release of the critically acclaimed Saga. In Volcano Blues, Randy Weston teamed up with long-time collaborator Melba Liston. In 1992 Randy Weston recorded The Splendid Master Gnawa Musicians of Morocco featuring nine hag’houges (guinbres) together with two percussionists. Randy Weston’s musical odyssey is another installment in an already amazing body of work. Mr. Weston’s first recording as a leader came in 1954 on Riverside Records––Randy Weston Plays Cole Porter––Cole Porter in a Modern Mood. It was in the 1950s, when Weston played around New York with Cecil Payne and Kenny Dorham, that he wrote many of his best-loved tunes, such as “Saucer Eyes,” “Pam’s Waltz,” “Little Niles” and “Hi-Fly.” The culmination of Randy Weston’s rich musical career has resulted in a America Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana (ACRAG) Black Music Star Award; a one-week residency and tribute concert at Harvard University; The French Order of Arts and Letters; a five-night tribute at The Montreal Jazz Festival; and Composer Of The Year from Downbeat Magazine in 1999 and 1996.

About Rodney Kendrick
Raised in Miami, Florida, where his parents moved soon after his birth, Rodney Kendrick followed in his piano playing father’s footsteps after having first played drums. There was also a gospel singing tradition in the family and this stood him in good stead when, in the late 1970s, his early professional engagements found him working with soul artists such as James Brown and George Clinton. In the early 1980s, he moved to New York City where he studied with Barry Harris. Kendrick’s jazz gigs were in stellar company, including spells with George Benson, Freddie Hubbard and J. J. Johnson. In the early 1990s Kendrick was a member of Abbey Lincoln’s trio and he also began leading his own small group. A stylish player with subtly understated skills, Kendrick’s steady growth as a performer mark him down as a talent to watch in the early years of the twenty-first century.

About Merkin Concert Hall
Renowned for its acoustics, accessibility and innovative programming, Merkin Concert Hall is the recipient of multiple awards for Adventurous Programming, most recently from ASCAP/Chamber Music America in 2002–03. The Hall is a division of the Kaufman Center, which also includes the Lucy Moses School (a community arts school) and the Special Music School (a New York City public school for musically gifted children). A not-for-profit organization founded in 1952, the Kaufman Center occupies its own facility, the award-winning Goodman House, located in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Through its three divisions, the Center is an unsurpassed cultural resource where people of all ages experience the joy of artistic creation, expression and appreciation.

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