Out of Africa

The University of Nevada, Reno kicks off its 2006-2007 Performing Arts Series with Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Quintet and the Master Gnawa Musicians of Morocco. Jazz pianist-composer Weston has spent much of his career exploring the African roots of jazz, blues and other music of the Americas. The New York City native was encouraged by his father to learn more about his African heritage. In the late 1960s, Weston lived in Morocco and immersed himself in the music and culture of that country and other African nations. During the 1990s, he recorded a string of critically acclaimed albums highlighting Africa’s contributions to world music, including 1991’s The Spirits of Our Ancestors and 1999’s Spirit! The Power of Music, which featured the Gnawa Master Musicians of Morocco. In 2001, Weston received the Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his appearance this Thursday is part of NEA Jazz Masters on Tour. The concert begins 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Nightingale Concert Hall in the Church Fine Arts Building at UNR. Tickets are $7-$30. Call 784-4278.