23

Walter Smith III: Still Casual

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Walter Smith III: Still Casual 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

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "From the Nocturnal Chironian" CD/LP/Track Review From the Nocturnal Chironian
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Atticus Live!" CD/LP/Track Review Atticus Live!
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Live At Zaal 100" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Zaal 100
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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