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FILE Identifier: Ms. Coll. 159

The Randy Weston Collection: A Finding Aid

Content Description

The Weston archive includes documentation from all periods of his prolific career. The scores series contains manuscripts of his numerous compositions, and arrangements by his collaborators, chiefly Melba Liston. At present, this finding aid describes only the scores series of the Weston collection. Other parts will be added as processing is completed.


  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 2016

Language of Materials

Materials are predominantly annotated in English, and occasionally in French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to the collection. Because much of this material is under copyright, the permission of the copyright holder is required before reproductions can be made. All requests for access should be forwarded to the staff of the Isham Memorial Library.


22 boxes
9.2 linear feet

Biographical / Historical

Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Randy Weston has been a unique and vital presence in the international jazz world for decades. He was raised in an atmosphere thick with sounds and ideas of modern jazz – among his childhood friends and neighbors were bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummers Al Harewood and Max Roach; it was at Max Roach's house that Weston would encounter George Russell, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. His father, Frank Weston, was a formative influence on the young musician. Frank Weston owned a small restaurant in Brooklyn, which was a hangout for many local artists and performers. A committed Garveyite, the elder Weston instilled in his son a profound consciousness of his African heritage. Weston always remembered his father’s admonition to never forget “that he was “an African born in America.” More than any other American musician, Weston has committed himself to cultivating the familial ties between American jazz and its African heritage. He has toured the world regularly, and performed throughout five continents. In 2001 he was invited to be the first pianist ever to play at the 1600 year-old Kamingamo Shinto temple in Kyoto, Japan. Weston has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Downbeat Composer of the Year (three times) a Guggenheim fellowship, and the French Order of Arts and Letters. In 1999 Harvard University honored Weston with a weeklong residency celebrating his collaborations with Melba Liston. He was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2001.

Physical Location

Merritt Room, Isham Memorial Library, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library

The Randy Weston Collection: A Finding Aid.
Christina Linklater
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library Repository

The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The Music Library’s collecting mission is to serve music teaching and research programs in the Music Department and throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In addition, it supports the musical needs of the broader Harvard community as well as an international scholarly constituency. We collect books, musical scores, serial titles, sound recordings and video formats, microforms, and rare and archival materials that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice, as well as interdisciplinary areas related to music. The special collections include archival collections from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

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