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Here’s a great Avant-Garde album from Cedar Walton and his first as a leader. It was recorded in 1967 and launched a new career for him as he entered the Jazz Funk scene. He is considered one of the top pianists that Jazz has offered and is well known but had to earn it. As you can see in his discography he was an integral part of many major Jazz breakthrough albums. The name of this album is “Cedar!” and don’t get confused with MP3 version shown there on Amazon, this album is only available on CD there. Its very relaxing Jazz with heavy impressive/innovative piano from Cedar and great drum work by my favorite Billy Higgins who layers it with c o o l n e s s. Kenny Dorham is sweet and subtle on the Trumpet, Junior Cook adds texture on Tenor and Leroy Vinnegar is domineering with a powerful Bass. The contributions of sidemen Dorham and Cook are not in all the songs (Read Below). Check the schedule link for play times. Great stuff, enjoy!

About the album:

Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley). His first recording as a leader finds Cedar Walton an optimistic and self-assured pianist/composer in the post-bop style. This 1967, cleanly-produced recording contains seven swinging numbers featuring Cedar in trio, quartet and quintet configurations. The album opens with “Turquoise Twice,” a hard-driving, modally-inclined tune. Cedar’s solo is crisp, logical and rigorous, his left hand dipping into some McCoy Tyner-like fifths. His no-nonsense approach, and rootsy pianistic touch carries the album. This is intelligent but not intellectual jazz. One of the strongest tracks is the charming but edgy “Twilight Waltz.” Billy Higgins’ drums out some swinging counter-rhythms underneath Cedar’s bluesy ornamentation. And trumpeter Kenny Dorham performs a clearly melodic solo, straight and singing. “My Ship” (Gershwin-Weill) is intimate as a trio. Cedar’s balance between horn-like single notes……Read More

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Biography of Cedar Walton:

One of the most valued of all hard bop accompanists, Cedar Walton is a versatile pianist whose funky touch and cogent melodic sense have graced the recordings of many of jazz’s greatest players. He is also one of the music’s more underrated composers; although he has always been a first-rate interpreter of standards, Walton wrote a number of excellent tunes (“Mosaic,” “Ugetsu,” and “Bolivia,” to name a few) that found their way into Art Blakey’s book during the pianist’s early-’60s stint with the Jazz Messengers. In addition to his many quantifiable accomplishments, Walton is less well known as the first pianist to record, in April 1959 with John Coltrane, the tenorist’s daunting “Giant Steps” — unlike the unfortunate Tommy Flanagan a month later, Walton wasn’t required to solo, though he does comp magnificently. Walton was first taught piano by his mother. After attending the University of Denver, he moved to New York in 1955, ostensibly to play music. Instead, he was drafted into the Army……Read More

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