All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "Wheelhouse" CD/LP/Track Review Wheelhouse
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 14, 2018
Read "Doubles, Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Doubles, Vol. 1
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Fast Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Fast Friends
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 27, 2018
Read "Birthday" CD/LP/Track Review Birthday
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "On The Path" CD/LP/Track Review On The Path
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Ruby" CD/LP/Track Review Ruby
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 10, 2018