Monterey '66

Randy Weston

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Monterey '66 Review

by Al Campbell

The 1966 farewell concert of pianist Randy Weston's sextet was recorded at the Monterey Jazz Festival, but for some reason languished unreleased until 1993. Weston has cited this group -- featuring trumpeter Ray Copeland, baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne, bassist Bill Wood, drummer Lenny McBrowne, and conga player Big Black -- as his best, but it only remained together for three years. Tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin, a crucial element in the original band, was listed as special guest, only because he had already formed his own new group. All compositions are Weston originals and feature a strong African thematic influence. The 25-minute heated finale is the percussion laden "African Cookbook," in which everyone contributes strong and inspired soloing.

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