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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Randy Weston

Randy Weston on traveling.

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Randy Weston on the meaning of 'jazz'.

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Randy Weston on first hearing Thelonious Monk.

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Q: “Can you recall what you first thought when you heard Monk?

A: Randy Weston: “If I very well, I thought he couldn't play the piano. I said, "This guy can't play very well, you know." But I said he's with Coleman Hawkins, so something is happening, and the first time I heard ‘Ruby My Dear’, I heard Coleman Hawkins play it with Monk, you know.”

Interviewer: “Yeah.”

Randy Weston: “And something made me go back and when I heard him play again, I suddenly realized that he was into a direction that I wanted to go in and I was unconsciously searching for, you know, to have that kind of rhythmic freedom when you're playing the piano. The piano is also a percussion instrument, you know, and has many colors and shadings you can get on the piano and Monk opened the door for me. So when I had enough courage to go and speak to him, he invited me by his home, and he never gave me a piano lesson ever, but he gave me piano lessons in so many ways just being around him. You know, he was a great, great teacher.”