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Join us for a special screening of the rare jazz film, Randy In Tangier (1988), featuring legendary pianist and composer, NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston.
This film was created for television by a joint French and Spanish production company and has never been released on DVD, or screened in New York City. The program is presented by WBGO in collaboration with College of Performing Arts at The New School
7PM: Screening, Randy in Tangier
8:30PM: Panel discussion with Randy Weston and Hisham Aidi (Columbia University), author of Rebel Music, moderated by Nate Chinen (WBGO).
Randy In Tangier
1988, 85 min.
Directed by Luc Michel Hannaux
Starring Randy Weston
Narrated by Robert Palmer
With Billy Harper, tenor sax; Benny Powell, trombone; Tom McKenzie, bass; Al Harewood, drums; Eric Asante, percussion
Featuring The Master Musicians of Jajouka; Dar Gnawa of Tangier; Mohamed Zin Jalala
In 1967 pianist and composer Randy Weston traveled throughout Africa on a tour organized by the U.S. State Department. Weston’s 14-country African tour came to a close in Morocco. By that point he’d fallen in love with the continent and decided to move to the Moroccan port city of Tangier, where he lived until 1972.
Randy In Tangier joins Weston on his return to Morocco thirteen years later. He meets with musicians from three distinct traditional groups, including Dar Gnawa of Tangier (led by his longtime musical associate, Abdullah El Gourd) and the Master Musicians of Jajouka. We meet the members of his group, who have joined him on the journey to Morocco for a special performance, where his band is joined by traditional musicians.
After taking up residence in Morocco, Weston became a presence in Tangier. “[I had] no Spanish, no French, no Arabic, no Berber,” he says. “I come here with love and music and how the people treated me and how they treated my children. I had my children in Morocco. It was so beautiful.”
He opened a club called the African Rhythms Cultural Center, and programmed everything to show the cultural connections: from R&B to jazz to the spiritual music of the Gnawa people of Morocco. “We had everything in there from Chicago blues singers to singers from the Congo…. The whole idea was to trace African people wherever we are and what we do with music.”
Hisham Aidi, a Moroccan-American writer who now teaches at Columbia University, grew up in Tangier and says he still remembers what has parents told him about Weston.
“Before I was born, Randy used to live in our street, Rue de Gibraltar. When my father was wooing my mother, he took her to see Randy perform at Cinema Alhambra,” Aidi recalls. “So growing up, you hear stories about this man, this 6′ 8″ giant, and what he did for the music of our town.”
Weston eventually did move back to the U.S., but he says that by that point, his piano had become an African instrument.
“If you look at the piano, inside is a harp. A harp is one of the oldest African instruments,” Weston explains. “When I touch the piano, it becomes an African instrument. It’s no longer a European instrument. I say that in a positive way, not a negative way.”
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