Walter Smith III, a striking saxophonist, has entered the arena with this promising debut. A rising horn player, he has performed and shared the stage with a variety of musicians, including jazz veterans (Roy Haynes, Ralph Peterson), pop stars (Destiny's Child, Lauren Hill), and contemporary jazz luminaries (Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran).
Like recordings by other younger artists, this disc integrates a variety of styles and influences into a jazz framework, creating an open avenue in which Smith can channel his ideas. They are carried forth by a cast of young jazz leaders who are already making their own marks, including pianist Robert Glasper, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Eric Harland, and many others.
The recording touches on many different levels and styles. The sheer power of hard bop is communicated in the Sam Rivers composition "Cyclic Episode, whose circuitous melody is parsed into various instrumental sections, building with a scorching tempo and incendiary solos. The cool textures of the Fender Rhodes alongside Smith's arid sax appear on "Kate Song and the odd-metered "Tail of Benin, where Smith alternates between natural and electronic wind effects. There's also a wonderful cover of West African guitar sensation Lionel Loueke's "Benny's where Loueke contributes his unique guitar and vocals.
This aural glossary also includes the beauty of traditional sources like the rare Mingus composition "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love, where Smith's tenor is throaty and eloquent, showing empathy for the classic work. Surprisingly, instead of going for the burn, the recording continues on a mellow path with another standard and two Smith compositions that reveal his depth and arranging skills. But Smith does flex his tenor muscles, swinging hard on the "Blues with bassist Rueben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland in an all-out performance workout that could only be accomplished by highly skilled jazz musicians.
Track Listing: Cyclic Episode;
Tail Of Benin;
Personnel: Walter Smith lll: tenor,soprano sax;
Aaron Parks: piano, fender rhodes;
Reuben Rogers: bass (1,2,4,6,7,9);
Vicente Archer: bass (3,5,8);
Eric Harland: drums (1,2,4,6,7,9);
Kendrick Scott:drums (3,5,8);
Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet (1,4,7);
Lionel Loueke: guitar, vocals (2,4);
Robert Glasper: Fender Rhodes (2);
Lage Lund: guitar (3);
Gretchen Parlato: vocals (3);
Matt Kilmer:electronic hand percussion (2).
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.