All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

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 Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Vintage Christmas Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Vintage Christmas Trio
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Toot Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Toot Suite
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "The Show Before The Show" CD/LP/Track Review The Show Before The Show
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 2, 2018