Saturday, November 20, 2010


"Are you a big Randy Weston fan,” Cory the barber asked then dipped a breaded zucchini appetizer in some ranch dressing. At Mama Rosa's Pizzeria we set at the booth near the cash register. Cory was excited about the new Randy Weston album “Randy Weston and his African Rhythm Sextet the Storyteller Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
“That has to be the longest album title in the history of jazz,” I said.
“You didn’t answer my question”.
“I heard him live at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor early this year. He put on a great set. I was really impressed with his bass player Alex Blake.”
“I missed that gig,” Cory said.
“This is my first Randy Weston album”.
“For a jazz journalist, you are way behind. Randy is one of the top pianist in jazz in the game,” Cory said.
“Jazz is old as dirt. I will spend the rest of my life catching up.
“Do I need to bring you up to speed on Randy’s track record”?
“I know he mixes African rhythms with jazz.”.
“Do you like this new album”?
“With this sextet the African thing works better”.
“What do you mean”?
Before I could answer Corey, Sharon, our server, placed a large pizza on the table. Cory pulled out a slice,  bit into it, and then he dropped the slice on his plate. He fanned his mouth with his right hand. The hot slice had burned the roof of his mouth.
“I got more of a sense of the African influence with the inclusion of the saxophone, and the trombone. Blake really brings it home with the percussive way he plays the bass”.
“I wonder how he'd sound in a traditional jazz band,” Cory said. He took another bite of pizza. It had cooled down.
“I can’t imagine him fitting into a traditional band. I think Randy digs Blake because Blake is unconventional.” I said. Then I put a slice of pizza on my plate. Sharon reappeared. She asked if everything tasted okay, and if I wanted another diet Coke.
“Randy's wouldn’t be as amazing without Blake,” Cory said.
“How about his classic Hi Fly”?
“This version is my favorite so far".
“Randy had the audience spellbound”.
“Normally, on live recording, you will hear the people chitchatting. On this album, they’re attentive.”
“You should buy some more Randy Weston albums”.
“I want the earlier stuff”.
“Stopped by the house next week. I'll loan you Get Happy, The Modern Art of Jazz and With This Hands,” Cory said.
“Lets finished this pizza. It’s starting to get busy in here.” I said.
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