Randy Weston: The Flamekeeper Wows At Dizzy's

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There are jazz musicians who are masters of their instrument and craft, and they always deliver. 

There are jazz musicians who combine that mastery with an unrelenting passion in their performances. Then there are the "keepers of the flame".  These are the musicians who along with all their proficiency have committed themselves to preserving and promoting the glorious history and evolution of the music called jazz.

Randy Weston, pianist and composer is one of those "keepers of the flame", who manages to transform every performance into a teachable session.  The jazz master takes the opportunity between each tune to expound on the history of the music, the many icons who have contributed to its advancement and especially to explain the direct spiritual and rhythmic connection of jazz to the motherland, Africa.  This was the atmosphere that prevailed when Mr, Weston and his band took the stage at the Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola  on Saturday, August 4th.
The band featuring, Randy Weston on piano, Lewis Nash on drums, Victor Lewis/Neil Clarke on African drums and percussion, TK Blue on saxophone/flute, Robert Trowers on trombone and Alex Blake on bass, served up a fine stew of straight-ahead jazz laced with African and Afro Cuban rhythms.  Mr.Weston would teach about the collaborations of Dizzy Gillespie with the Cuban masters, Machito and Chanel Pozo, before tearing into "a night in Tunisia"; unleashing the mellow stylings of TK Blue and Trowers along with the percussive thunder of Nash, Lewis and Clarke. 

Mr.Weston's own composition, "To Healing", found him making great rhythmic conversation with bassist Blake, flutist Blue and drummer Nash. The pattern of mini lecture followed by classical rendition of musical a piece just seemed to add the right flavor to the evening's program.

The sincere contributions of the "flame keepers" like Randy Weston are invaluable to the survival and growth of Jazz or as most of these dedicated people would call it "America's classical music". The "flame keepers" insist that the identity of Jazz with its roots in the African American experience and its direct link to the polyrhythms of the Motherland and diaspora must never be forgotten or marginalized. Thankfully, the Randy Weston session at Dizzy's achieved all that.

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