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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Voices Deep Within

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood

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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, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: One Flight Down

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Underground Memoirs

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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 ...

INTERVIEWS

Cedar Walton

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Underground Memoirs

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Latin Tinge

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Cedar Walton's latest release, Latin Tinge, is a middle-of-the-road assemblage of tunes in a trio setting. Walton, an accomplished and masterful pianist, is joined by bassist Cucho Martinez and percussionist Ray Mantilla, both experienced and talented veterans. The songs, however, follow the same structure and scheme, and it's this lack of variation that disappoints.

Latin Tinge ’s lineup includes timeless standards and three Walton originals. Each piece has basically the same set-up: intro, theme, solo by Walton, repeat of intro, restatement of theme, a second Walton solo, then out. The leader has the only true solos on the disc, fluid ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton Trio featuring Dale Barlow: Manhattan After Hours

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Cool enough to play at your dinner party, yet hot enough for a serious listen, The Cedar Walton’s Trio releases “Manhattan After Dark” featuring Dale Barlow. Walton is among the elite of jazz history. He has appeared on such legendary recordings as John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps’ and several others by Art Blakey (whose band, The Jazz Messengers, he joined in 1961), Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and many, many others. True to his reputation, Walton’s playing on ‘Manhattan After Dark’ is a study of amazing piano technique and intense street-wise urban ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: The Promise Land

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Few would debate pianist Cedar Walton's significance in jazz. With this release, the artist continues to utilize the efforts of alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and bassist David Williams, while Kenny Washington inherits the chair once held by the late drummer Billy Higgins. Therefore, as one might surmise, Walton's eloquence and artisanship is once again prominently exhibited on his latest group led effort.

On the opener and title piece, “Promise Land," the quartet bases its soulful vibe upon Herring's unruffled phraseology and memorably melodic hook. Moreover, Herring's lilting flute passages during the samba tinged “N.P.S" perpetuates a gala outlook, amid Walton's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: Three Sundays In The Seventies

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Label M launched its new enterprise with a stunning live and previously unreleased concert by Stan Getz at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore. With more than 200 tapes recorded by Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society legally in its possession, the label continues to remaster and enhance the tapes from a home recorder that captured the spirit of the concerts. In some respects, the Society recorded during what has become a golden age for some of the greatest musicians in jazz.With the release of Three Sundays In The Seventies, Cedar Walton is assuming his rightful position as one of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: The Maestro

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There’s a lot of memorable music on this reissue of two sessions recorded a decade apart. The common element is the presence of longtime Walton associates, bassist David Williams and drummer Billy Higgins, who play on all 12 tracks. The music from December, 1980 (tracks 1-8) includes tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (the fourth member of the pianist’s working band at the time) and four cuts with vocalist Abbey Lincoln (who Walton worked with in the mid-sixties).

Recorded at the end of a two-month tour, the band has a nice, loose feel, plays with confidence, yet the music is filled with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: The Maestro

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Cedar Walton, a hard bop legend if there ever was one, released The Maestro for Muse in 1980. This new reissue from 32 Jazz features the original program in its entirety, along with four additional tracks recorded a decade later for another Muse release, As Long As There’s Music. Abbey Lincoln appears as a special guest on four of the 1980 tracks — two of which, “Not In Love" and “Castles," are Lincoln originals. The inimitable singer also performs Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood," as well as Walton’s somewhat banal Ellington tribute, “The Maestro." The instrumental tracks include ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cedar Walton: The Maestro

Read "The Maestro"

There’s a lot of memorable music on this reissue of two sessions recorded a decade apart. The common element is the presence of longtime Walton associates, bassist David Williams and drummer Billy Higgins, who play on all 12 tracks. The music from December, 1980 (tracks 1-8) includes tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (the fourth member of the pianist’s working band at the time) and four cuts with vocalist Abbey Lincoln (who Walton worked with in the mid-sixties).

Recorded at the end of a two-month tour, the band has a nice, loose feel, plays with confidence, yet the music is filled with ...



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