- Audio CD (23 Mar. 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Koch Jazz
- ASIN: B00000I9EP
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,748,506 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
African Cookbook Import
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Featuring the band and material that played the group's send-off at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966 (resulting in the long-overdue issue of the Monterey '66 CD in 1993), this Randy Weston band held solid ground in the space between a small ensemble and a big band. African Cookbook gets at least some of its name--and its spiritedness--from tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin, who takes the album's best solos in his Texas-tenor, blues-soaked style. The band plays at a slow simmer for much of the set, recorded in 1964 but unreleased until 1972, gliding into Weston's open architecture and effusive, Pan-African melodies. There's generous percussion here, much of it coming from the rarely heard Lennie McBrowne (who, by the way, stirs it up brilliantly on Ervin's Booker and Brass), with the frequent addition of Big Black and Sir Harold Murray on small and handheld percussion. Unlike hosts of his contemporaries, Weston survived this period and created awesome works--not the least of which is 1998's Khepera--but it's always great to hear material, like this, that barely saw light even when it was recorded. --Andrew Bartlett
Top Customer Reviews
The congos come out for "Niger Mambo." We have lift off. This is where Weston goes into overdrive. Snappy, with a devilish trumpet section in the middle; this track has all you could want and more.
The title track is a stonewall classic, steady build up, that percussion that just grates on you, bringing you hypnotically into the track - pure genius.
"Congelese Children," is a slightly quick yet enjoyable ditty.
Worth buying for the title track on its own
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Mr. Weston is a generous performer too - allowing the other musicians on this album to shine. This is a good addition to your collection and a great starting place for an introduction to Randy Weston's music.
Cookbook is an early album by Weston from 1964. It was retitled some time in the 70s -which is confusing because there's another Weston album out that is also entitled African Cookbook. The basic format is piano-horns quintet -Weston with trumpeter Ray Copeland and tenor sax player Booker Ervin plus bass and drums on the first four cuts, the same group with two African drummers added on cuts 5-7. It's vintage Weston --starts with a jazz waltz, a patented specialty of Weston's (think "Little Niles"), continues with a plaintive ballad that showcases Ervin, and so on. Percussinist Big Black takes a vocal on "Congolese Children" that adds little to the song but doesn't detract from the song, which, like all of the pieces, all by Weston, is good. Weston writes good music, his orchestrations are simple but effective, and he's as good an accompanist as he is a soloist -and he's a fine soloist. Weston has always been one of the more interesting composer-performers to come out of the fifties, part Ellington, part Monk, but all his own man in how he melds the pieces. He's also the real thing when it comes to African musical influences in his music. In short, this is not an essential album, nor is it even without its shortfalls (Black's vocal) but the overall quality of this offering is high and Weston's music is, as always, infectiously listenable.