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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

David Hazeltine and Mike Kaplan: Two Perspectives On Cedar Walton

Read "David Hazeltine and Mike Kaplan: Two Perspectives On Cedar Walton" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Years ago, I often went to a club in which a guest soloist was coupled with the house rhythm section. At one point in nearly every opening set, in an effort to find some common ground, the leader called Cedar Walton's “Bolivia." Sitting and waiting in anticipation for the theme to be played became an important part of witnessing each performance. Regardless of who was on the bandstand, “Bolivia" never failed to bring out the best in everyone.

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Cedar Walton: Voices Deep Within

Read "Voices Deep Within" reviewed by Russ Musto

Since 2001, Cedar Walton's regular excursions into Rudy Van Gelder's legendary Englewood Cliffs studio for the HighNote label have consistently resulted in some of this century's finest mainstream jazz recordings. On Voices Deep Within he continues the tradition, once again demonstrating the vitality and endurance of (t)his music. Despite his ever growing popularity and critical acclaim (and next month's NEA Jazz Mastership), Walton has not yet been elevated to his deserved place in the pantheon of the greatest jazz pianists--alongside ...

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Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood

Read "Seasoned Wood" reviewed by Andrew Velez

Seasoned is an apt term for Cedar Walton who, at 72, continues to dazzle, refresh and satisfy with his keyboard artistry. Among several of his compositions included in Seasoned Wood, “Clockwise" is a bit of unusual waltz-time magic from which gradations of application spill from his keyboard, chiseled and burnished, as drummer Al Foster lends dazzling accompaniment. Their interaction is typical of Walton with this group, in which, as with the best bandleaders, he surrounds himself with stalwarts who shine ...

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Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood

Read "Seasoned Wood" reviewed by Douglas Payne

Pianist Cedar Walton has long been the perfect accompanist for so many other leaders. He's written quite a few of jazz's few “standards" over the last half century as well. For four decades now, he's also been an outstanding leader, waxing dozens of discs that win plenty of critical plaudits but never seem to bring him the solo success he deserves. Consider how fellow pianists Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner and even Herbie Hancock} gave up doing other people's sessions at ...

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Cedar Walton: One Flight Down

Read "One Flight Down" reviewed by Joel Roberts

Cedar Walton has been a first-call hard bop pianist for almost as long as there's been hard-bop. In a splendid, though often underappreciated, career spanning six decades, he's had notable stints in the bands of giants like JJ Johnson, Lee Morgan, Art Farmer and Art Blakey, while also leading well-respected groups of his own. Now, at seventy-two, he's one of the elder statesmen of the hard-bop genre and one of the true living legends of jazz piano. ...

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Cedar Walton: Underground Memoirs

Read "Underground Memoirs" reviewed by Russ Musto

Widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential pianist/composers in jazz today, Cedar Walton's Underground Memoirs is only this master's fourth solitary outing (the first since 1992's memorable Live At Maybeck Recital Hall). A singular stylist with an exuberantly bluesy, yet harmonically advanced approach, Walton's sound is instantly recognizable in the context of a group, but here, alone at the piano, he plays in an exceptionally introspective manner where his identity is not as quickly revealed.

INTERVIEWS

Cedar Walton

Read "Cedar Walton" reviewed by Russ Musto

Cedar Walton cut his chops with several great groups, including J.J. Johnson's Quintet and the Jazztet, before making a name for himself with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Since graduating from that venerable institution he's become one of the most in demand pianists in jazz. These days he spends most of his time traveling the world leading his trio. AAJ caught him at his home in Brooklyn having just returned from playing a Caribbean cruise, following a week in ...

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Cedar Walton: Underground Memoirs

Read "Underground Memoirs" reviewed by John Kelman

The strength of any great musical interpreter is his or her ability to see the truth at the core of any great tune. This capability to assess the inner beauty of a memorable tune, regardless of context, can sometimes turn an inspired player into an equally noteworthy composer. That's the case with pianist Cedar Walton, who, now in his early '70s, contributed a number of well-known pieces to the late drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers songbook of the early '60s, ...

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Cedar Walton: Latin Tinge

Read "Latin Tinge" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Cedar Walton's latest release, Latin Tinge, is a middle-of-the-road assemblage of tunes in a trio setting. Walton, an accomplished and masterful pianist, is joined by bassist Cucho Martinez and percussionist Ray Mantilla, both experienced and talented veterans. The songs, however, follow the same structure and scheme, and it's this lack of variation that disappoints.

Latin Tinge ’s lineup includes timeless standards and three Walton originals. Each piece has basically the same set-up: intro, theme, solo by Walton, repeat of intro, ...

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Cedar Walton Trio featuring Dale Barlow: Manhattan After Hours

Read "Manhattan After Hours" reviewed by Charlie B. Dahan

Cool enough to play at your dinner party, yet hot enough for a serious listen, The Cedar Walton’s Trio releases “Manhattan After Dark” featuring Dale Barlow. Walton is among the elite of jazz history. He has appeared on such legendary recordings as John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps’ and several others by Art Blakey (whose band, The Jazz Messengers, he joined in 1961), Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and many, many others. True ...

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Cedar Walton: The Promise Land

Read "The Promise Land" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Few would debate pianist Cedar Walton's significance in jazz. With this release, the artist continues to utilize the efforts of alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and bassist David Williams, while Kenny Washington inherits the chair once held by the late drummer Billy Higgins. Therefore, as one might surmise, Walton's eloquence and artisanship is once again prominently exhibited on his latest group led effort.

On the opener and title piece, “Promise Land," the quartet bases its soulful vibe upon Herring's unruffled phraseology ...

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Cedar Walton: Three Sundays In The Seventies

Read "Three Sundays In The Seventies" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Label M launched its new enterprise with a stunning live and previously unreleased concert by Stan Getz at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore. With more than 200 tapes recorded by Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society legally in its possession, the label continues to remaster and enhance the tapes from a home recorder that captured the spirit of the concerts. In some respects, the Society recorded during what has become a golden age for some of the greatest musicians in jazz.