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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

David Hazeltine and Mike Kaplan: Two Perspectives On Cedar Walton

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Years ago, I often went to a club in which a guest soloist was coupled with the house rhythm section. At one point in nearly every opening set, in an effort to find some common ground, the leader called Cedar Walton's “Bolivia." Sitting and waiting in anticipation for the theme to be played became an important part of witnessing each performance. Regardless of who was on the bandstand, “Bolivia" never failed to bring out the best in everyone.

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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. ...

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.

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 ...

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, ...



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