Monday, August 19, 2013

R.I.P. Cedar Walton

News filtered through on Twitter today that the much loved hard bop pianist and composer Cedar Anthony Walton jr. passed away this morning. Born on January 17, 1934 in Dallas, Texas, Walton played as a leader and sideman on over 200 recordings ( has him credited 239 times as a performer, even more as composer and arranger, and even that may be missing a few). He has played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Abbey Lincoln, Clifford Jordan, Hank Mobley and many others.

To say I have a grasp of his discography would be lying. In fact, I got into him fairly late, and so am in reality only beginning to dig into his work. But I do have my faves from what I've heard, topped by the first epynomous record by the band Eastern Rebellion, which in addition to Walton consisted of George Coleman, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins.

Recorded and released in the mid 70s on Timeless, it comes from an era where my jazz interest have always tended towards the avant-garde (e.g. New York loft-jazz, AACM, European freejazz), so it's perhaps no surprise I discovered it late. But Eastern Rebellion is a damn fine piece of hard bop, beatutifully recorded and masterrfully played, and both the compositions and the individual intstrumental contributions are tastefully inventive yet at the same time devoted to no-nonesense, purposeful, straight ahead jazz. The record also includes a fine cover of John Coltrane's "Naima", yet it is the opening track, Walton's own "Bolivia", I would pick as the album's highlight. R.I.P Cedar Walton:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...