How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Alto saxophonist Myron Walden's quartet on This Way, featuring bassist Vicente Archer, drummer E.J. Strickland, and tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene, is quite robust.
The musicians engage in a scorching pursuit of heavy swinging and melodically dissonant bopping on "Like I See It. As the saxophonists burn with discriminating abandon, their respective approach to thematic progressions within their solos is revealing. The temporal, harmonic, tonal, and rhythmic interplay between Greene and Walden is somewhat similar nonetheless. Virtuosity, among other things, is never in question. Archer, whose march on this cut is a tale unto itself, impresses with his solo and ensemble playing on the closer, segueing the composition towards its coda with a few bars of his own. Strickland's drumming is hyper-agile and densely fluid and features a continuous attack on top of the beat. He also takes a brilliant solo on "Sooner Than Later.
This Way is Walden's compositional germ. As such, he is very much a high-caliber son of the times; his writing is fearless, compelling, and stimulating. Is it memorable, lasting, and influential? Perhaps. Proof lies in the legendary pudding of time.
As one listens to the bassist's didgeridoo-like droning effect on "Too Far to Turn Back, as well as his performance on the opener, one is reminded that some times it's worth listening to a record from each player's perspective. If one were to do so with this particular effort, one would discover a bassist whose execution as a team player is enhanced by his performances under the limelight. His sound is reliably thick, "thudly and, when needed, plain nasty. Paying close attention to Strickland's malleable, pelted percussion would reveal a drummer of remarkable talents, whose work on this recording is a running commentary on precise touch, masterful time, and phrasingas well as a lesson on cymbals.
"3 Up 4 Down has Walden waxing stratospheric. Greene and the leader, however, do sound engagingly fit when playing as a unit, both here and throughout the production. "Swamp Thing is further proof that no objections or weighty qualifications can be offered about either of the leading muscular reedmen.
Track Listing: What Goes Up Must Come Down; Right Here; 3 Up 4 Down; Swamp Thing; Too Far To Turn
Back; Like I See It; Sooner Than Later; Descent From The Clouds.