Randy Weston (born April 6, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York), is an American jazz pianist and composer, of Jamaican parentage.
Weston studied classical piano as a child but did not have to travel far to hear the jazz giants who were to influence him. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he ran a restaurant that was frequented by many of the leading bebop musicians. Among his piano heroes are numbered Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington (and Wynton Kelly was a cousin), but it was Thelonious Monk who had the greatest impact.
Weston has had a considerable career in jazz as a pianist, composer, and bandleader. In the late 1940s he began gigging with bands including Bullmoose Jackson, Frank Culley and Eddie â€œCleanheadâ€ Vinson. He worked with Kenny Dorham in 1953 and in 1954 with Cecil Payne, before forming his own trio and quartet and releasing his debut recording as a leader in 1954, Cole Porter In a Modern Mood. He was voted New Star Pianist in Down Beat magazine's International Critics' Poll of 1955. Several notable albums followed, including Little Niles near the end of that decade. His piano style owes much to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk (he has paid direct tribute to both), but it is highly distinctive in its qualities: percussive, highly rhythmic, capable of producing a wide variety of moods.