MEC to celebrate legendary Jazz pianist Randy Weston

MEC to celebrate legendary Jazz pianist Randy Weston
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Randy Weston, the legendary jazz pianist, composer and bandleader, will be celebrated at a special free program, from 6 to 8 pm on Friday, June 10, at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College (MEC).

The program takes place in the college’s Founders Auditorium at 1650 Bedford Ave.

MEC said the celebration will include a performance by Weston and a conversation about his life journey with Dr. Clinton Crawford, chairman of the college’s Department of Mass Communications, Creative & Performing Arts and Speech.

The evening will begin with a presentation by “Something Positive,” a premier Afro-Caribbean performing arts company, and remarks from MEC President Dr. Rudolph F. Crew.

A video montage that showcases Weston will be shown, and Weston will sell and autograph copies of “African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston.”

MEC said Weston’s spectacular career has spanned over 60 years.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2001 named him a “Jazz Master,” which the NEA describes as “the highest honor that our nation bestows on jazz artists.”

The list of artists selected by the NEA for that honor includes Miles Davis, Betty Carter and Ramsey Lewis.

In 2015, MEC said the Jazz Journalists Association gave Weston the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz award.

“If you were to ask who is Randy Weston, it would be like making a stew,” Weston said. “You throw in some Ellington, some Basie, some Monk, some Tatum and some Nat Cole; throw in Africa, throw in Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, and Chano Pozo.

“You put all of those ingredients in the pot, stir it up, and you have Randy Weston,” he added.

“When Randy Weston plays, a combination of strength and gentleness, virility and velvet, emerges from the keys in an ebb and flow of sound seemingly as natural as the waves of the sea,” Langston Hughes said.