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Mal Waldron


Born in New York City, Waldron's jazz work was chiefly in the hard bop, post-bop and free jazz genres. He is known for his distinctive chord voicings and adaptable style, which was originally inspired by the playing of Thelonious Monk.

After obtaining a B.A. in music from Queen's College, New York, he worked in New York City in the early 1950s with Ike Quebec, "Big" Nick Nicholas, and rhythm and blues groups. He worked frequently with Charles Mingus from 1954 to 1956 and was Billie Holiday's regular accompanist from 1957 until her death in 1959. He also supervised recording sessions for Prestige Records, for which he provided arrangements and compositions (including the jazz standard "Soul Eyes"). After Holiday's death he chiefly led his own groups.


Article: Multiple Reviews

OJC Rides Again: Bill Evans & Mal Waldron

Read "OJC Rides Again: Bill Evans & Mal Waldron" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Although it wasn't coined specifically for the collection, the idea of an “embarrassment of riches" is perfectly suited to describe the vast holdings of the Fantasy Records firm. Starting out as a small west coast concern, their success with the group Creedence Clearwater Revival allowed them to expand their operations in 1971. The address of Tenth ...


Article: Album Review

Mark Lewandowski: A Bouquet (for Lady Day)

Read "A Bouquet (for Lady Day)" reviewed by Ian Patterson

A regular in the Mingus Big Band and Wynton Marsalis' quartet, New York-based Mark Lewandowski has won numerous awards for his sonorous double bass playing, which can be appreciated in settings as diverse as John Zorn's The Book of Beri'ah (Tzadik Records, 2018) and Joe Chamber's Dance Kobina (Blue Note Records, 2022). As a leader, Lewandowski ...


Article: Album Review

Sabino de Bari and Diana Torti: It's All We Have

Read "It's All We Have" reviewed by Troy Dostert

A working twosome since 2006, vocalist Diana Torti and guitarist Sabino de Bari reveal the many benefits of a long-standing musical partnership. While they have collaborated on many projects over the years, It's All We Have represents just their second duo album--and it is a fine one, with the creative melding of both artists' visions into ...


News: Award / Grant

Mal Waldron - Winner, Best Previously Unreleased Album, Académie Du Jazz

Mal Waldron - Winner, Best Previously Unreleased Album, Académie Du Jazz

The Académie du Jazz is the oldest and most respected jazz institution in France, created in 1954. Their electoral college is made up of 60 independent journalists, photographers, writers, radio presenters, club owners and festival organizers. They give out awards in 11 categories, and Tompkins Square's Mal Waldron set, Searching in Grenoble : The 1978 Solo ...


Article: Jazz in Long Form

Striving for Music: Joe Henderson and Phil Woods' Struggles Performing with Emphysema

Read "Striving for Music: Joe Henderson and Phil Woods' Struggles Performing with Emphysema" reviewed by Bertrand Herer

Introduction Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a highly prevalent respiratory condition, an important cause of lost life years and its importance is still growing. By 2030, COPD is expected to be the fourth leading cause of mortality, morbidity, and disability worldwide. It is usually caused by significant exposure to noxious particles or gases, including inhaled ...


Article: Touchstone Album Picks

Francesca Han: Exuding Honesty

Read "Francesca Han: Exuding Honesty" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Pianist and composer Francesca Han's duo album with Ralph Alessi, Exude (Hanji, 2022), is a timely reminder of the Korean's talent as an interpreter, an improvisor and as a creative force. It is a beautiful, conversational album, open to multiple influences. Classically trained, Han discovered jazz while studying in her native Seoul. It was ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

John Coltrane, Dave Liebman and Others

Read "John Coltrane, Dave Liebman and Others" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

This vintage episode, from November 2021, features John Coltrane playing with Miles Davis and also Dave Liebman interpreting Coltrane's music. Other musicians heard include Dave Brubeck, Archie Shepp, Al Hibbler, and Anthony Ortega. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Jerome Kern The Jazz Standard

Read "Jerome Kern The Jazz Standard" reviewed by David Brown

This week we celebrate the 138th birthday of Jerome Kern. Born in 1885, Kern was an important composer of musical theatre and popular music in the early 20th century. Many of Kern's songs have been adapted by jazz musicians to become standard tunes. Featured interpreters of Kern's songs will include David S. Ware, Connie Crothers, Clifford ...


Article: Building a Jazz Library

ECM Records Touchstones: Part 1

Read "ECM Records Touchstones: Part 1" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Every album ever released by ECM Records would be readily available in a better world. But that, understandably, is not the case. The German label, founded by Manfred Eicher—who still holds the helm—debuted in 1969 with pianist Mal Waldron's Free At Last. In the ensuing five-plus ...


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