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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
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.