Listen to ‘Ganawa’ from Randy Weston’s 1972 album Blue Moses


You’d think the smooth jazz of Creed Taylor’s CTI label and Moroccan trance music would have nothing in common right? Well in 1972, alongside an all star cast of CTI alumni including Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and Billy Cobham, post bop pianist Randy Weston returned from his adopted home in Morocco and created Blue Moses. Much of the music referenced his four years living in the capital Rabat and the music interprets some of the traditional rhythms of the Gnawa trance music from Southern Morocco. Bizarrely Taylor insisted on Weston playing electric piano, which further adds to the lushness, and whilst Weston’s arrangements were later removed and enhanced in bombastic big band style by in house arranger Don Sebesky, it proved to be the biggest hit of Weston’s career and still retains a slight, quite fascinating north African feel.

Here’s the full lineup:

Arranger: Don Sebesky / Don Sebesky
Trumpet: Freddie Hubbard
Fluegelhorn, Trumpet: John Frosk
Fluegelhorn, Trumpet: Alan Rubin
Fluegelhorn, Trumpet: Marvin Stamm
Trombone: Garnett Brown
Trombone: Warren Covington
Horn, Trombone: Wayne Andre
Trombone: Paul Faulise
French Horn: James Buffington
French Horn: Brooks Tillotson
Tenor Saxophone: Grover Washington Jr.
Flute: Hubert Laws
Woodwinds: Romeo Penque
Woodwinds: George Marge
Synthesizer: David Horowitz
Bass: Ron Carter
Drums: Bill Cobham
Percussion: Phil Kraus
Percussion: Airto Moreira
Percussion: Azzedin Weston
Producer: Creed Taylor
Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.