Amazon.com Widgets

Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood (2008)

By Published: | 7,667 views
Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

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
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
, McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
and even Vincent Herring
Vincent Herring
Vincent Herring
b.1964
saxophone
and young lion Jeremy Pelt
Jeremy Pelt
Jeremy Pelt
b.1976
trumpet
on trumpet. Both fare well, however, to be fair, neither reaches the heights that, say, Clifford Jordan, Bob Berg, Blue Mitchell or Lee Morgan scaled in Walton's music in the past.

Perhaps that's why Herring, who's worked with Walton before, and Pelt show up only sporadically throughout the disc. The full quintet can be heard on the half-hearted opener, Gershwin's "The Man I Love," but snap into gear—on all fronts—on Jimmy Heath's lively "Longravity" (originally heard on a 1983 Heath Brothers album), the excellent "Plexus," which Walton introduced on Freddie Hubbard's debut, Hub Cap (Blue Note, 1961), and "John's Blues," first heard on Walton's Eastern Rebellion album, Mosaic (MusicMasters, 1992).

Among the disc's finest performance is Walton's quartet feature, "When Love Is New," which Walton first unveiled on Art Blakey's Indestructible (Blue Note, 1964). Here, Pelt reveals his subtle gifts on flugelhorn and no matter whether Walton is in the background or out in front, he is purely and perfectly poetic. Al Foster, as he does elsewhere, simply melts into the mood. It is a performance to behold, one that finds all four participants at their very best. As evidenced here, Walton's mastery of the ballad is simply peerless.

The opportunity to revel in Walton's melodic swing and dazzling pianistic palette makes the trio pieces the real treasures to be heard here. Walton wends his way magisterially through his classic waltz, "Clockwise," which harks back to Eastern Rebellion 2 (Timeless, 1977), "Hindsight," from the pianist's stint with Junior Cook on the excellent and highly recommended Somethin's Cookin' (Muse, 1981) and the gracefully bird-like lark of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square."

The title Seasoned Wood may successfully riff on the artist's name and the artistry he brings to the occasion, but as anyone with a fireplace knows, seasoned wood burns hotter and better than regular wood. Indeed, Cedar Walton does so here.

Track Listing: The Man I Love; Clockwise; Longravity; When Love Is New; Hindsight; A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square; Plexus; John's Blues.

Personnel: Cedar Walton: piano; Vincent Herring: alto sax (8), tenor sax (1, 3, 7); Jeremy Pelt: trumpet (1, 3, 7), flugelhorn (4, 8); Peter Washington: bass; Al Foster: drums.

Record Label: HighNote Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search