Nuit Africaine

Randy Weston

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Nuit Africaine Review

by Ken Dryden

Randy Weston has long emphasized the influence of Africa upon jazz and this collection of piano solos, mostly originals, adhere to his claim. Only one of the pieces, "Little Niles," is widely known, a rhythmic tribute to his young son that has been a part of his repertoire ever since. But the other tracks deserve attention, too. "Yubadee" is dedicated to a top musician Weston heard during a visit to Ganawa, blending the spirits of Africa and bop. "Blues from Senegal" begins in a moody setting, then alternates with a lively yet unpredictable line. The gospel flavor of "C.W. Blues" is readily apparent, while "Jejouka" is full of surprising twists in a very lively setting. His treatment of Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" has a disguised introduction, then the pianist gradually works his way into this memorable ballad, incorporating his distinct touch to add a new dimension to it. Beautifully recorded on a first-rate grand piano, this should be considered one of Randy Weston's essential recordings.

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