Randy WestonJazz | 2012
Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Randy Weston remains one of the world’s foremost composers and pianists. His piano style owes much to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk (he paid tribute to both on his Portraits of Duke Ellington album), but it is highly distinctive in its percussive and highly rhythmic qualities. In the late 1940s, Weston began gigging with bands before forming his own trio and quartet. His first recording as a leader was made in 1954 on Riverside Records, and he has since recorded nearly 50 albums. In 1997, Weston received the French Order of Arts and Letters; in 2001, he received a Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was added to ASCAP’s Jazz Wall of Fame in 2009 and was honored by Moroccan King Mohammed VI in 2011 for his commitment to Morocco’s Gnawa Music tradition. He was named DownBeat magazine’s 1994, 1996, and 1999 Composer of the Year.