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).

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "2468 West Grand Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review 2468 West Grand Boulevard
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 27, 2016
Read "Horizon Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Horizon Ahead
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "Close Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Close Enough
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "For Free" CD/LP/Track Review For Free
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!