Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

23

Walter Smith III: Still Casual

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
There are countless musicians who perform but few that can make their instruments breathe as melodically as saxophonist Walter Smith III. In the opening track "Foretold You" from his release Still Casual, it's as if his horn is an extension of his thoughts and will—notes burning, graceful and flowing like a stream of ideas. Yet with these obvious abilities Smith is a diligent craftsman whose arduous schedule includes education, tours, and performances within a rotation of rising jazz leaders that includes trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and Eric Harland's Voyager ensemble.

Since his debut Casually Introducing (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006), Smith continues to refine his voice balancing the roots of tradition and the pulse of today. Still Casual, his fourth release, is an effervescent work of original music. There's the powerful blast of "Something New" as Smith and Akinmusire lay down solo fireworks while bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Kendrick Scott create the rhythmic tension. A cradle of spaciousness envelops "Apollo" with its reiterating emotive theme and undulant chords from pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Matt Stevens. The band's chemistry is flawless.

Smith's writing is also evolving. "Fing Fast" churns through a swinging tempo yet ends with Eigsti's harmonious piano and keyboard hook. The circuitous "About 360" is as intense as swing can get, a grueling workout driven by the rhythm section and elevated by the soloists. As in his previous releases Smith demonstrates a proclivity for intricate ballads in the compelling "Greene" dedicated to saxophonist Jimmy Greene who lost his daughter in the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Smith's tenor is deep, full of sentiment and resonance.

There are numerous answers to the question of what jazz sounds like today with countless self-expressions being played out across the world. But a microcosmic view can be heard in the music and excellent young musicians in Smith's Still Casual.

Track Listing: Foretold You; Kaleidoscope; Something New; Apollo; Greene; Processional; Fing Fast; July; About 360; Goodnight Now.

Personnel: Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Taylor Eigsti: piano, Fender Rhodes; Matt Stevens: guitar; Harish Raghavan: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet (3, 7, 9).

Title: Still Casual | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

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.

Radio
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Twio by Phil Barnes
  • Twio by Roger Farbey
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Twio

Twio

Whirlwind Recordings
2018

buy
Still Casual

Still Casual

Self Produced
2014

buy
III

III

Criss Cross
2011

buy
Casually Introducing Walter Smith III

Casually Introducing...

Fresh Sound New Talent
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen CD/LP/Track Review
It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 12, 2018
Read SHIFTED CD/LP/Track Review
SHIFTED
by James Fleming
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Volume One CD/LP/Track Review
Volume One
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Songs in the Key of Wonder CD/LP/Track Review
Songs in the Key of Wonder
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read "Vista" CD/LP/Track Review Vista
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Chansons Du Crepuscule" CD/LP/Track Review Chansons Du Crepuscule
by Don Phipps
Published: January 3, 2018
Read "Wonder Trail" CD/LP/Track Review Wonder Trail
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "Solo a Genova" CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "You / Me" CD/LP/Track Review You / Me
by John Eyles
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Say It" CD/LP/Track Review Say It
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: April 27, 2018