Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet
Randy Weston, Piano
(Randy Weston Website)
Lewis Nash, Special Guest, Drums
TK Blue, Alto Sax and Flute
Robert Trowers, Trombone
Alex Blake, Bass
Neil Clarke, Drums and Percussion
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Programming Director
Scott Thompson, Press
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 28, 2011
I was lucky to catch the last couple of songs of Randy Weston’s second and final set at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola tonight. Thanks so TK Blue, who gave me the set list, I was able to absorb the after-effect of Weston’s fusion of American jazz and African tonal rhythms, that had just wowed the sold-out crowd. Randy’s set had included Hi Fly, Tangier Bay, Little Niles, African Village/Bedford Stuyvesant, St. Thomas (Fire Down There), Love, the Mystery Of. I came in, after a Lincoln Center ballet, hoping to catch a bit of Weston’s Sextet, and St. Thomas (Fire Down There) was lighting up the Club.
There were tropical, Afro-Cuban elements, sometimes featuring TK Blue, who was on alto sax and flute tonight, and sometimes showcasing Weston on effervescent piano. For Love, the Mystery Of, the Sextet switched moods, back and forth, ethereal to electric, with Lewis Nash, Guest Drummer, taking a wild, mesmerizing solo that brought down the house. Neil Clarke, on Latin percussion, added clavé tempos that enriched the moment. Robert Trowers and Alex Blake, on trombone and bass, filled the music with deep exotic texture, and I really wanted to hear more. When the Sextet turned on the heat, they evoked musical phrases from around the globe: Turkish, African, Cuban, Brazilian, and of course American.
During the After-Hours Set, see a review of Alvester Garnett and his Artworks Ensemble, Mrs. Weston and Todd Barkan came by to say hello and generously gave me his autobiography, African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, and his CD, “The Storyteller”, recorded with his African Rhythms Sextet. This CD review will be posted soon. In perusing Weston’s autobiography, published by Duke University Press, which he kindly inscribed to me, and which is “Composed” by Weston and “Arranged” by Willard Jenkins, Weston begins his stories with tales about his family and growing up in Brooklyn. When he writes “The Scene Shifts to the Pacific”, the reader is drawn into his terrific efforts to beat the World War II draft, and what happens when he doesn’t. After Okinawa, he returns to Brooklyn and “hangs out at Max Roach’s house on Monroe Street”. He mentions Miles Davis, Freddie Webster, George Russell, Duke Jordan, and Tommy Potter, forming Charlie Parker’s rhythm section.
Later on in the book he writes about a tour of “The Motherland”, with stops in Senegal, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, and making a home in Africa. There are even photos of his 1961 AMSAC (American Society of African Culture) tour, with Booker Ervin on tenor sax and Lionel Hampton’s band in Nigeria. Needless to say, Randy Weston’s autobiography is a treasure trove of tales about travel, music, friends, family, and cultural inspiration. For updated listings of Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, check out Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website.
You buy Randy Weston’s latest CD here, as well as his autobiography, African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston.