Mal Waldron/Judi Silvano: Riding A Zephyr (2002)
Waldron’s music can take unusual twists. He can jump into the angular with a quick turn while coasting along a straight line. He can loosen whorls of sound, the bass thundering and then glide into the middle register. In the quieter moments he creates textures bathed in deep emotional beauty, of which “Soul Eyes” is the exemplar here, his playing setting the mood for Silvano who wraps herself round it for a stunning piece of work.
Silvano has a pliable voice, the timbre deep and warm. She builds atmosphere convincingly, making loneliness a wrenching experience on “Finding My Love”. The dense permutations of “Eyes On You" serve to spotlight her vocalese, with Waldron casting a spell through jagged lines that slip into a cascade before coming back full circle. Silvano can also whoop it up, scatting with verve and abandon while doing some “Cattin’”, even if the vocals are overdubbed and layered.
Oddly enough the last song here, “Mal Waldron,” is a tribute from Silvano and Joe Lovano that succinctly encapsulates his presence on the scene. It turns out to be an appropriate eulogy.
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Track Listing: You; Finding My Love; Cattin
Personnel: Mal Waldron
Record Label: Soul Note