Jazz a la Bohemia

Randy Weston, the strapping Brooklyn-bred pianist and composer who has spent much of his career in Morocco, embodied a stirring East Coast answer to the laid-back sounds of the West. With Monk and Duke Ellington as his models, he perfected a terse, rhythmically potent style characterized by thunderclap chords in the extremes of the keyboard and hypnotic melodic/rhythmic figures. The reissue of his 1956 live recording at the Cafe Bohemia, Jazz á la Bohemia, is a welcome reminder of how confident a stylist he was back then, when his quartet included baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne. In addition to three standards (including an ardent rubato interpretation of Cole Porter’s ”It’s All Right With Me”), he plays a calypso, ”Hold ‘Em Joe,” later made famous by Sonny Rollins; a swing air by Big Sid Catlett (”Just a Riff”); and a typically cagey original (”Chessman’s Delight”). B+

Jazz a la Bohemia
  • Music