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.
Monterey '66 Review
by Al Campbell