262

Cedar Walton: The Maestro

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Cedar Walton: The Maestro There’s a lot of memorable music on this reissue of two sessions recorded a decade apart. The common element is the presence of longtime Walton associates, bassist David Williams and drummer Billy Higgins, who play on all 12 tracks. The music from December, 1980 (tracks 1-8) includes tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (the fourth member of the pianist’s working band at the time) and four cuts with vocalist Abbey Lincoln (who Walton worked with in the mid-sixties).

Recorded at the end of a two-month tour, the band has a nice, loose feel, plays with confidence, yet the music is filled with details that set it apart from a simple head-solos-head format. For instance, on Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood,” Lincoln’s vocal begins only after Walton’s short solo has been sandwiched between Berg’s two playings of the tune’s melody. Another example is Walton and Berg’s delightfully swinging unison chorus on the title track (with music and lyrics written by the pianist), which makes a fine contrast to the authority and power of Lincoln’s voice.

Both Berg and Walton are in exceptional form during their solo work. Berg stands out on an up-tempo version of Thelonious Monk’s “Rhythm-A-Ning,” where he displays a great command of the bebop lexicon, but clearly has his own voice. Another one of Monk’s compositions, “Blue Monk,” also taken at a faster tempo than usual, finds Walton digging into a phrase with relish, and then moving effortlessly to the next one.

The music from July, 1990 (tracks 9-12) features a front line of trumpeter Terence Blanchard and alto saxophonist Jesse Davis. The music seems more polished than the earlier session, sounding like a particularly tight hard bop ensemble. Walton has a knack for coming up with nifty arrangements of standards like “Young And Foolish,” and “As Long As There’s Music,” as well as doing justice to another Monk composition, “Pannonica.” On this one he artfully scatters notes and chords over Blanchard and Davis’ solemn reading of the melody, plays the bridge without the horns, and follows with a solo that stays in the spirit of the ballad, yet gently pushes and pulls the tune in various directions.

Track List:In A Sentimental Mood; Rhythm-A-Ning; Not In Love; Sabia; The Maestro; Blue Monk; Castles; On The Trail; Young And Foolish; I’m Not So Sure; Pannonica; As Long As There’s Music.


Personnel: Cedar Walton

Title: The Maestro | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: 32 Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Meeting My Shadow CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read No Secrets No Lies CD/LP/Track Review No Secrets No Lies
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 22, 2017
Read 50 CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Shovel Down" CD/LP/Track Review Shovel Down
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Zea" CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by John Kelman
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "More Essentials" CD/LP/Track Review More Essentials
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 12, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!