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Live From New York

September 2009

By Published: September 12, 2009
Undoubtedly one of the most important musicians to emerge out of the '60s hard bop movement, pianist Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
remains one of the most vital artists in jazz today. Walton invests each performance with a sense of urgency that is rare for a player of his years in a genre too often marred by predictability. A compelling composer and improviser, he draws from his voluminous repertoire of originals, standards and jazz classics to fashion inspired sets that are filled with revelations, a consequence of a conscious effort to push his abilities continually to the highest levels of creativity. On opening night (Aug. 4th) of the second week of his stint at Dizzy's Club, he led his quartet, with saxophonist Vincent Herring
Vincent Herring
Vincent Herring
augmenting the hard swinging trio of bassist David Williams and drummer Joe Farnsworth
Joe Farnsworth
Joe Farnsworth
that played the previous week, through an exuberant final set that included his own fine compositions—"Newest Blues," "Martha's Pride" and "In The Kitchen"—along with Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and Sonny Rollins' "No Mo.'" Herring, who has developed an equally potent voice on tenor to complement his alto, is an excellent foil for the leader, whose fine-tuned sense of shifting dynamics is vital to the structural integrity of not only each song, but to every set as a whole. Shifting tempos, volume and moods seamlessly, each piece was awe-inspiring as focus moved from one soloist to the next, each player supporting his colleagues with unbridled passion and sensitivity.

JD Allen

Village Vanguard

New York City

August 13, 2009

Standing stage right at the front edge of the Village Vanguard bandstand, where the club's piano usually sits, JD Allen launched right into the original "Id" to open his second set Thursday night (Aug. 13th), his tenor sax filling the subterranean chamber with a classic sound that benefited from the absence of the keyboard's chordal accompaniment. Allen possesses a full virile tone on his instrument—recalling at times both Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane—and, leading his regular working trio with Gregg August on bass and Rudy Royston on drums, he proved himself to be both an original and most imaginative player. During an hour-long, virtually uninterrupted performance, he wove myriad melodies—mostly of his own creation—into an intricate musical collage of terse variations on themes that scrupulously steered clear of clichéd chord progressions, favoring motific improvisations that would not suffer from the lack of a broader harmonic underpinning. August and Royston also took full advantage of the sonic space resulting from the group's spare instrumentation, the former plucking, bowing and strumming his bass as the latter switched from sticks to brushes to mallets to vary both their solos and accompaniment. This created a flowing mottled atmosphere through which Allen traversed freely in a tour de force exhibition of tension and release, finally settling into the familiar ballad "Where Are You" before returning to the opening "Id" and then ending with a soulful blues.

—Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

* Laurent Coq—Eight Fragments of Summer (88 Trees)

* Crimetime Orchestra—Atomic Symphony (Jazzaway)

* Herculaneum—Herculaneum III (Clean Feed)

* Fred Hersch—Plays Jobim (Sunnyside)

* Louis Sclavis—Lost on the Way (ECM)

* Anthony Wilson Trio—Jack of Hearts (Groove Note)

—David Adler NY@Night Columnist,

* Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits—Infinito (Tzadik)

* Ryan Blotnick—Everything Forgets (Songlines)

* Roberta Gambarini—So In Love (Groovin' High-Emarcy)

* Jean Martin/Justin Haynes—Freedman (Barnyard)

* The Universal Quartet (with Yusef Lateef)—Eponymous (Blackout Music)

* Fay Victor Ensemble—The Freesong Suite (Greene Ave. Music)

—Laurence Donohue-Greene Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

* Gato Loco—CocoNino (s/r)

* KLANG—Tea Music (Allos Documents)

* OFFONOFF—Slap and Tickle (Smalltown Superjazzz)

* Perry Robinson/Burton Greene—Two Voices in the Desert (Tzadik)

* Trespass Trio—..."was there to illuminate the night sky..." (Clean Feed)

* Miroslav Vitous—Remembering Weather Report (ECM)

—Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York

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