The soulful originals on Always There allow Mala Waldron to communicate emotionally, while her genius at the piano and keyboards allows her to communicate musically. The two modes overlap, of course, as she interprets lyrics and scats with authority.
Working with a bright, stellar quartet, Waldron combines straight-ahead jazz, pop, R&B and soulful ballads in one program. Both bass and guitar provide her with solid solo work, while the entire ensemble cooks with a cohesive slant throughout.
Waldron's piano solos contribute immeasurably to her program. Cascading lightly over the keyboard, she romps with a smooth, easy-to-like texture. At times, as on "Ellie, she combines a percussive piano attack with wordless syllables to yield a captivating and action-filled combination. At other times, as on "I Do Remember You, she prefers a smooth jazz approach that simmers gently with all burners on low heat.
Light My Fire provides a welcome thrill. With this familiar tune, Waldron and her quartet turn loose the emotional bonds that exist in our everyday lives and take us for an exciting ride. Her vocal lead and backup voices combine with Steve Salerno's powerful guitar to stir the pot vehemently. After that, you just want to replay the track again and again to enjoy its lasting effects.
While this session comes from several directions and adheres to many styles, Waldron's focus remains tied to the honest conveyance of good music with a jazz lover's interests at heart.
Whispers in The Wind; Because of You; Always There; Too Good For words; I Do Remember
You; Ellie; Why; Can't Stop Thinking About You; Light My Fire; Proud Lion; Maybe It's Not So.
Mala Waldron: vocals, piano/keyboards; Miriam Sullivan: bass; Steve Salerno: guitars; Michael
"T.A." Thompson: drums, background vocals; Jim Clouse: additional pecussion (track 5).
Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.