Of course the jazz world always knew what it had and has in composer and pianist Randy Weston. Many of his compositions have become standards. Weston’s deep undesrstanding of african music led him to an unique way of connecting african rhythms to modern US hard bop that has proved very influential.
In 1989 Weston became quite popular also amongst the non-afficianodos, when Verve took him under contract and released a series of CDs that were welcomed by the non-specialist press. As if Weston hadn’t been making fine music all the time.
Anyway his relative popularity at the beginning of the nineties led to Weston being invited onto the european festival circus. In the vast archives of Otto Flückiger I found some 18.30 minutes of Randy Weston’s African Spirits with Weston (p), Alex Blake (b), Idris Muhammad (dr) and Eric Asante (perc) filmed at the Jazzfestival Bern in 1991.
There is a second clip from that day featuring a duet of Weston and piano master Tommy Flanagan who apparently was also appearing at the festival in another cotext. Beware though that the first two minutes of this video are quite embarassing. Why would they do this to artists? Neither Flangan nor Weston seems to be very happy about what seems to have been the festival’s organiser’s idea. They both make the impression of having been pushed into this. But then there is the beauty of the musing emerging from the hands of these two greats: