507

Cedar Walton: Seasoned Wood

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
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 Vincent Herring and young lion Jeremy Pelt on trumpet. Both fare well, however, to be fair, neither reaches the heights that, say, Clifford Jordan, Bob Berg, Blue Mitchell or Lee Morgan scaled in Walton's music in the past.

Perhaps that's why Herring, who's worked with Walton before, and Pelt show up only sporadically throughout the disc. The full quintet can be heard on the half-hearted opener, Gershwin's "The Man I Love," but snap into gear—on all fronts—on Jimmy Heath's lively "Longravity" (originally heard on a 1983 Heath Brothers album), the excellent "Plexus," which Walton introduced on Freddie Hubbard's debut, Hub Cap (Blue Note, 1961), and "John's Blues," first heard on Walton's Eastern Rebellion album, Mosaic (MusicMasters, 1992).

Among the disc's finest performance is Walton's quartet feature, "When Love Is New," which Walton first unveiled on Art Blakey's Indestructible (Blue Note, 1964). Here, Pelt reveals his subtle gifts on flugelhorn and no matter whether Walton is in the background or out in front, he is purely and perfectly poetic. Al Foster, as he does elsewhere, simply melts into the mood. It is a performance to behold, one that finds all four participants at their very best. As evidenced here, Walton's mastery of the ballad is simply peerless.

The opportunity to revel in Walton's melodic swing and dazzling pianistic palette makes the trio pieces the real treasures to be heard here. Walton wends his way magisterially through his classic waltz, "Clockwise," which harks back to Eastern Rebellion 2 (Timeless, 1977), "Hindsight," from the pianist's stint with Junior Cook on the excellent and highly recommended Somethin's Cookin' (Muse, 1981) and the gracefully bird-like lark of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square."

The title Seasoned Wood may successfully riff on the artist's name and the artistry he brings to the occasion, but as anyone with a fireplace knows, seasoned wood burns hotter and better than regular wood. Indeed, Cedar Walton does so here.

Track Listing: The Man I Love; Clockwise; Longravity; When Love Is New; Hindsight; A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square; Plexus; John's Blues.

Personnel: Cedar Walton: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Al Foster: drums; Vincent Herring: alto and tenor saxophone; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet, flugelhorn.

Title: Seasoned Wood | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: HighNote Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "The Danish Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Danish Sessions
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "A Wing Dissolved In Light" CD/LP/Track Review A Wing Dissolved In Light
by John Sharpe
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Music From Our Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Music From Our Soul
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.