BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, is proud to present Randy Weston’s Uhuru Afrika – 50th Anniversary Concert Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 8:00 p.m.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Randy Weston’s signature recording session Uhuru Afrika, a tribute to the 17 African countries that gained independence in 1960. This fall, this musical legend and visionary will perform with a 22-piece orchestra featuring several jazz greats including Candido Camero (percussion) and Charlie Persip (drums), who played on the original album.
The orchestra includes: Vincent Chauncey on the French Horn; Ron Jackson on guitar; and Charlie Persip on the drums; Eddie Henderson, Eddie Allen and Cecil Bridgewater in the trumpet section; Craig Harris, Bob Trowers and Barry Cooper in the trombone section; and Alex Blake and Essiet Essiet in the bass section. T.K. Blue, James Spalding, Billy Harper, Alex Harding, Billy Saxton round out the saxophone section while Candido Camero, Ray Mantilla, Roland Guerrero, Kwaku Obeng and Neil Clarke form the percussion section.
The orchestra also features vocalists Jann Parker and Gregory Porter, conductor Paul West and a narrator (TBA) who will recite Langston Hughes’ “Freedom Poem.”
As political, racial and social unrest swept through the United States in the 1950s, African-American jazz musicians began to address conditions in this country and Africa’s independence movements through their music. Between 1958-1961 scores of albums including John Coltrane’s Africa Brass, Dizzy Gillespie’s Africana and Sonny Rollins’ Freedom Suite were released.
In 1960, Randy Weston contributed the landmark opus “Uhuru Afrika” to the political and cultural landscape. The album featured jazz greats such as Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Yusef Lateef, Cecil Payne, Ron Carter, Babatunde Olatunji, and Max Roach.
The album was arranged by the late trombonist Melba Liston.