1,067

Myron Walden: Eclectic Reedman

Edward Bride By

Sign in to view read count
In words often used to describe the music of Duke Ellington, Myron Walden is a saxophonist beyond category. More so than many other musicians, Walden himself eschews reliance on any one instrument, not tenor or alto nor soprano nor bass nor... well, you get the idea. The voice that he is striving to use in any particular setting can vary widely from time to time; there is no favorite child in this man's family of instruments.

Myron Walden



The same can be said of the music he plays. Three current releases (1) conjure Miles Davis, (2) reflect his innermost feelings of love, and (3) jump with countrified vigor. Look up the word "eclectic" in the dictionary, and you'll find a photo of Myron Walden.

While it is not uncommon for saxophonists to stray from their main instrument, or to explore musical variety, Walden is a committed non-denominational. The driving factors are usually the voice, range and weight that he is seeking on a particular performance or composition. Although not unusual on the surface, the fact that he expresses no favorite does suggest a big melodic and tonal palette.

Walden's work ethic is something to behold, having appeared with six different lineups in September and October (some of them as part of a fundraising effort for The Jazz Gallery, the Greenwich Village non-profit venue). And, he is releasing three different recordings between mid-November, 2009 and January, 2010. After a recording hiatus of four years, during which Walden wrote feverishly and wood-shedded the tenor saxophone, the first new release to hit stores was the November 17, 2009 issue of Momentum, to be followed by In This World and Countrified.

Momentum was inspired by the range of expression from Miles Davis' 1960s bands, recordings and compositions. This fall's Jazz Gallery performances included Walden on tenor saxophone, with Darren Barrett on trumpet, Eden Ladin on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and John Davis on drums.

In This World is a labor of love and gift to his wife, a project that captures feelings of reflection. This aggregation features Walden on tenor, soprano saxophones and bass clarinet, Jon Cowherd on piano, Mike Moreno on acoustic and electric guitar, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Obed Calviare on drums.

Completing the eclectic trilogy, Countrified is a funky, down-home project which he describes as "southern fried soul meets a little blues and rock and roll." For that performance, Jared Gold plays organ and Kenneth Salters is on the drums.

He took three other projects to the Jazz Gallery and other NY stages this fall, including a tribute to Stanley Turrentine, duo-sax reflections from earlier work, and a trio set.

Walden started studying alto in early childhood, and then added bass clarinet. The inspiration to play other reed instruments came about "because I felt I wasn't able to sonically convey in a way that could and would equate emotionally to the alto and its register. I had played some of the current music on alto, and listening back, it didn't feel right. It was not as impactful as I thought it could or should be." Realizing that, and doing something about it, was basically the process of growing up—or simply, growing.

Myron WaldenHis first jazz model was Charlie Parker, and one other band that always moved him was Miles Davis' quintet. "What moved me? The comping? The drums? The repertoire? All of the above."


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Nicole Johänntgen: Henry And The Free Bird Interview Nicole Johänntgen: Henry And The Free Bird
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Aaron Parks: Rising To The Challenge Interview Aaron Parks: Rising To The Challenge
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Generation Next: Four Voices From Seattle Interview Generation Next: Four Voices From Seattle
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 19, 2017
Read Miles Mosley Gets Down! Interview Miles Mosley Gets Down!
by Andrea Murgia
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Clarence Becton: Straight Ahead Into Freedom" Interview Clarence Becton: Straight Ahead Into Freedom
by Barbara Ina Frenz
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Marina Albero: The Sweetness of the Edge" Interview Marina Albero: The Sweetness of the Edge
by Paul Rauch
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Fred Anderson: On the Run" Interview Fred Anderson: On the Run
by Lazaro Vega
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "D'Vonne Lewis: It's About the Love" Interview D'Vonne Lewis: It's About the Love
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences" Interview Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Dave Douglas and the Art of Festival Direction" Interview Dave Douglas and the Art of Festival Direction
by Libero Farnè
Published: March 18, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.