540

Myron Walden: Momentum

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Myron Walden: Momentum Sometimes a break can be the best thing a musician can take. Not getting tired by any means, if a four-year sabbatical from recording as a leader results in as strong a comeback as reedman Myron Walden's, perhaps artists should take breaks more often. A charter member of drummer Brian Blade's Fellowship Band, Walden is back with not one, but three CDs over the next couple months. The first, Momentum, is a potent modern mainstream set that takes trumpet icon Miles Davis' legendary 1960s quintet as a touchstone, but achieves reverence without sacrificing its own voice.



Walden's writing has always demonstrated a distinctive blending of front line horns that almost sounds like a single voice, but especially in the context of the Fellowship where it's a confluence of reeds. Still, even when writing for saxophone and trumpet, as Walden does here, there remains a skillful commingling, with the horns often orbiting around each other harmonically before coming together in strong unison. The relaxed yet simmering feel of "Pulse"—a waltz-time ballad driven by flexible drummer Kendrick Scott's visceral, in-the-pocket groove with bassist Yasushi Nakamura—provides a modal context for solos building with inevitable intensity by Walden and trumpeter Darren Barrett, while David Bryant's atmospheric electric piano pushes the band into territory somewhere between Miles' Filles de Kilimanjaro and Miles in the Sky, both from Columbia in 1968.



Walden deserts his usual axe in favor of tenor saxophone, proving himself as thoughtful yet fiery a player on the bigger horn as he is on alto, and using the instrument's lower register to accomplish many of the ideas he'd normally play on bass clarinet (also left in its case). Miles may be the touchstone, but Walden's charts are far more challenging to navigate—especially "Carnage," an up-tempo burner featuring Scott's marvel of in-the-moment, polyrhythmic invention.



With plenty of solo space for everyone, Walden also contributes three largely through-composed miniatures, serving as rallying points throughout Momentum's 55-minute set. "Like a Flower Seeking the Sun," with Nakamura's evocative, chordal intro, is redolent of Shorter's enduring title track to Davis' Nefertiti (Columbia/Legacy, 1967), with its repeated front line motif a foundation for Scott's imaginative, polyrhythmic invention. Two versions of "When Time Stood Still" bookend five tunes, ranging from the indigo-tinged "Longing" to the barnstorming "Carnage"—managing, both in less than 100 seconds, to provide brief yet definitive solos spots: the first, some empathic in-tandem free play from Walden and Barrett; the second, a closing statement supporting Scott's ongoing emergence as an increasingly ubiquitous post-bop powerhouse of choice.



On its own, Momentum would be enough to say that Walden is back, and with a vengeance. As part of a triptych that will ultimately conclude with the reflective In This World and funk-driven Countrified (both due out on Walden's Demi Sound Records in January, 2010), it's but one of three that will paint the broadest picture of Walden's expansive interests yet; a document of one of the modern mainstream's most provocative saxophonists, composers, and bandleaders.

Track Listing: Of Three Worlds; The Road Ahead; Pulse; Vision of a Visionary; Miles; When Time Stood Still; What Goes Up Must Come Down; Longing; Like a Flower Seeking the Sun; Memories; Carnage; When Time Stood Still.

Personnel: Myron Walden: tenor saxophone; Darren Barrett: trumpet; David Bryant: electric piano; Yasushi Nakamura: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Demi Sound Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Langen ro" CD/LP/Track Review Langen ro
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "Star-Spangled Voltage" CD/LP/Track Review Star-Spangled Voltage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Sounds of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds of 3
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Got A Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966" CD/LP/Track Review Got A Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966
by Doug Collette
Published: June 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!