The Randy Weston Collection documents Weston’s prolific career as a jazz artist. It includes manuscript scores of original compositions and arrangements by his collaborators, as well as musical recordings from festivals, club and concert hall performances, and informal occasions such as rent parties and rehearsals.
Printed materials in the collection include correspondence, business records, photographs, and ephemera such as original flyers, handbills, posters and programs.
As one of the first African American musicians to deeply engage with his musical roots in Africa, Randy Weston occupies a pivotal place in American music. A pianist of powerful intensity and originality, Weston emerged from a thriving musical scene in 1950s Brooklyn, which included Max Roach, George Russell, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Miles Davis. Weston's most enduring musical influence is Thelonius Monk, who nurtured his talent.
Weston went on to tour five continents and collaborate with luminaries such as Langston Hughes. He has released more than 40 recordings over more than five decades. His most recent is a CD of solo piano music issued in 2018.
Weston was deeply engaged in the independence struggle of African nations in the 1960s and its relation to the domestic civil rights movement. His active participation in the United Nations Jazz Society and subsequent touring of Africa aimed to bring traditional African music to the consciousness of its Western descendants, as well as to bring the best of American jazz music back to the African continent.
The Loeb Music Library acquired the Weston Collection in 2016, in partnership with the Harvard Library, the Jazz Research Initiative at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Accessing These Materials
A preliminary finding aid is available.
The collection is closed for processing, 2023. After processing is completed, it will be available for research use.