Since 2001, Cedar Walton's regular excursions into Rudy Van Gelder's legendary Englewood Cliffs studio for the HighNote label have consistently resulted in some of this century's finest mainstream jazz recordings. On Voices Deep Within he continues the tradition, once again demonstrating the vitality and endurance of (t)his music. Despite his ever growing popularity and critical acclaim (and next month's NEA Jazz Mastership), Walton has not yet been elevated to his deserved place in the pantheon of the greatest jazz pianists--alongside the somewhat senior Horace Silver, who he would eventually succeed in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and the slightly younger McCoy ...read more
Seasoned is an apt term for Cedar Walton who, at 72, continues to dazzle, refresh and satisfy with his keyboard artistry. Among several of his compositions included in Seasoned Wood, Clockwise" is a bit of unusual waltz-time magic from which gradations of application spill from his keyboard, chiseled and burnished, as drummer Al Foster lends dazzling accompaniment. Their interaction is typical of Walton with this group, in which, as with the best bandleaders, he surrounds himself with stalwarts who shine brightly while at the same time creating a well-integrated ensemble. His savvy is hardly surprising after all ...read more
Pianist Cedar Walton has long been the perfect accompanist for so many other leaders. He's written quite a few of jazz's few standards" over the last half century as well. For four decades now, he's also been an outstanding leader, waxing dozens of discs that win plenty of critical plaudits but never seem to bring him the solo success he deserves. Consider how fellow pianists Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner and even Herbie Hancock} gave up doing other people's sessions at some point. Walton still contributes voluminously and qualitatively to jazz, whether it's under his own name or not.<br /><br />Unfortunately, ...read more
Cedar Walton has been a first-call hard bop pianist for almost as long as there's been hard-bop. In a splendid, though often underappreciated, career spanning six decades, he's had notable stints in the bands of giants like JJ Johnson, Lee Morgan, Art Farmer and Art Blakey, while also leading well-respected groups of his own. Now, at seventy-two, he's one of the elder statesmen of the hard-bop genre and one of the true living legends of jazz piano. His latest release is a typically excellent effort from the Dallas, Texas-born artist. Joined by drummer Joe Farnsworth and bassist ...read more
Widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential pianist/composers in jazz today, Cedar Walton's Underground Memoirs is only this master's fourth solitary outing (the first since 1992's memorable Live At Maybeck Recital Hall). A singular stylist with an exuberantly bluesy, yet harmonically advanced approach, Walton's sound is instantly recognizable in the context of a group, but here, alone at the piano, he plays in an exceptionally introspective manner where his identity is not as quickly revealed. Walton combines his uniquely personal phraseology, with surprising variations in tempo and dynamics, to offer new perspectives on the ...read more
Cedar Walton cut his chops with several great groups, including J.J. Johnson's Quintet and the Jazztet, before making a name for himself with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Since graduating from that venerable institution he's become one of the most in demand pianists in jazz. These days he spends most of his time traveling the world leading his trio. AAJ caught him at his home in Brooklyn having just returned from playing a Caribbean cruise, following a week in Greece. All About Jazz: You have your annual two week holiday residency at the Village Vanguard coming ...read more
The strength of any great musical interpreter is his or her ability to see the truth at the core of any great tune. This capability to assess the inner beauty of a memorable tune, regardless of context, can sometimes turn an inspired player into an equally noteworthy composer. That's the case with pianist Cedar Walton, who, now in his early '70s, contributed a number of well-known pieces to the late drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers songbook of the early '60s, and has continued to pen memorable hard bop tunes in the ensuing years.
Underground Memoirs is Walton's fourth solo outing ...read more