Randy Weston

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Perspective Review

by Ken Dryden

This is one of the more unusual recordings in Randy Weston's considerable discography, as it consists primarily of extended duets with bassist Vishnu Wood. Weston's approach to the piano is also considerably more reserved, to allow an equal focus on his bassist. This is apparent right away in the richly textured arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's "Blues to Be There," with both musicians having equal roles. Weston does allow himself an elaborate solo introduction to one of his best-known pieces, "Hi-Fly," though he lightens his approach once Wood joins in. Weston has "Body and Soul" all to himself and offers a blues-infused performance. Wood's composition "Khadesha" is a bass solo that has a Middle Eastern flavor; beginning by playing arco, he switches to pizzicato alternating between the melody and a supporting vamp. It's a shame that there are no liner notes to explain what inspired the making of this CD, which was reissued by Denon in 1989 but has long since been out of print.

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