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Roots. Cedar Walton is a treasure with an uncanny sense for composition, arrangement, and performance. His most recent recording Roots readily bears this out. His music is layered, as is his band. The liner notes introduce the band members first as Walton’s trio, the rhythm engine driving his machine. Next are introduced “Added Front Line Instruments”. The big names. Joshua Redman, who’s tenor voice continues to mature on “Boliva”, “Ojos De Rojo” and “Firm Roots”. Terrance Blanchard chimes in on “When Love is New, “I’ll Let You Know”, and “Firm Roots”. And finally guitar master Mark Whitfield who plucks his way through “Mode for Joe”, “Blue Monterey”, and “Fantasy in D”. Finally, the “Added Ensemble” is introduced. Almost a big band. All captured in crystalline perfection.
Cedar Chest. Cedar Walton’s latest release takes on a decidedly medium to big band flavor. The sound is crisp and clean, as are the performances. Walton, as should be, is the stand out on this disc. He plays with the articulation that one has come to expect from this superb jazz musician. His interaction with his extended group of players is exceptional with none of the performances ever disintegrating into a jam. This is sophisticated and readily consumable mainstream jazz that is well recommended.
Track Listing: Boliva; Ojos De Rojo; When Love is New; I
Personnel: Cedar Walton: Piano, Ron Carter: Bass; Lewis Nash: Drums; Joshua Redman: Tenor Saxophone; Terrance Blanchard: Trumpet; Mark Whitfield: Guitar; Don Sickler: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Bobby Porcelli: Alto Saxophone; Willie Williams: Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone; Scott Whitfield: Trombone; Gary Smulyan; Ray Mantilla: Percussion
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.