Dr. Randy Weston, by T.K. Blue
Two great musical friends meeting for the last time in this realm, in August of this year.
On Saturday Sept 1, 2018 we lost a true musical giant, innovator, NEA Jazz Master, and a warrior for the elevation of African-American pride and culture. His compositions disseminating the richness and beauty of the African aesthetic are unparalleled. Randy was born during the era of extreme racism, segregation, and discrimination in the United States. His life's mission was one of unfolding the curtain that concealed the wonderful greatness and extraordinary accomplishments inherent on the African continent.
I am blessed and honored to have been a member of his band for 38 years. Baba Randy was a spiritual father and mentor for myself, and so many people. Our last public performances were in Rome, Italy July 19th and Nice, France July 21st with Billy Harper on tenor sax Alex Blake bass Neil Clarke percussion and T.K. Blue alto sax and flute.
I will always remember his extreme kindness and generosity. My first four impressions of Dr. Weston reveled who he was and what he cherished:
--Early 1970's Randy in performance at the East in Brooklyn with his son Azzedine on African percussion (a clear demonstration of his love and mentorship for his children. I also remember Randy inviting the great James Spaulding to sit in on flute)
---Late 1970's I performed with South African legend pianist Abdullah Ibrahim at Ornette Coleman's Artist House Loft in Soho NYC. Randy attended this show with his father Frank Edward Weston and his manager Colette (his profound love, respect, and reverence for the elders and his admiration for other artists, especially from the continent of Africa)
----Late 1970's I had the first opportunity to perform with Randy at a fundraiser for SWAPO and to raise funds for support against Apartheid in South Africa (another demonstration of his commitment to struggle for civil and human rights world-wide)
During the summer of 1980 I was overjoyed having my first hired performance with Randy and his African Rhythms group at the House Of The Lord Church in Brooklyn which again displayed his support and commitment to keep jazz alive in black community and his in-depth love for the African-American church)
Lastly when my mom Lois Marie Rhynie passed in 2014, there was a last minute issue with the church piano. Dr. Weston paid for the rental of a beautiful baby grand piano and performed gratis.
Randy Weston is the last pianistic link between Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. His forays into improvisation are clearly a manifestation of the highest tier regarding a creative genius with astounding originality. His compositions are in the pantheon of renowned jazz standards.
Words are inadequate to express my love, admiration, appreciation, and gratitude for such an incredible human being. May his spirit rest in paradise for eternity. We will miss you Baba Randy!!!
Sincerely, T.K. Blue
This beautiful text was written by T.K. Blue in the memory of his close friend and mentor Randy Weston. We are so grateful to T.K. Blue for sharing this with us and our visitors. Thank you, T.K., for putting this wonderful text for the giant, Dr. Weston, here.