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Cedar Walton

August 24, 2013 Leave a comment

cedar walton This week two great jazzpianists died; Cedar Walton and Marian McPartland. Let’s continue with Cedar.

Cedar Walton, a pianist who distinguished himself as both an accompanist and a soloist, and who wrote some of the most enduring compositions in modern jazz while a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the early 1960s, died on Monday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 79. His death followed a brief illness, his manager, Jean-Pierre Leduc, said. (NYTimes, 8-20-13)
“Walton grew up in Dallas, Texas. His mother was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton’s initial teacher. She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas. Walton cited Nat King Cole, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum as his major influences on piano.

Walton was tempted by the promise of New York City through his associations with the likes of John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Richie Powell, whom he met at various after-hours sessions around the city of Denver, Colorado. In 1955, he decided to leave school and drove with a friend to New York City. He quickly got recognition from Johnny Garry, who ran Birdland at that time.

Walton was drafted into the U.S. Army, and stationed in Germany, cutting short his rising status in the after-hours scene. While in the Army, he played with musicians Leo Wright, Don Ellis, and Eddie Harris. Upon his discharge after two years, Walton picked up where he left off, playing as a sideman with Kenny Dorham and J. J. Johnson, and with Gigi Gryce.[2] Joining the Jazztet, led by Benny Golson and Art Farmer, Walton played with this group from 1958 to 1961. In April 1959, he recorded an alternate take of “Giant Steps” with John Coltrane, though he did not solo.

In the early 1960s, Walton joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as a pianist-arranger for three years (on the same day as Freddie Hubbard), where he played with Wayne Shorter and Hubbard. In this group, he demonstrated a keen sense of arranging in originals such as “Ugetsu” and “Mosaic”. He left the Messengers in 1964 and by the late 1960s was part of the house rhythm section at Prestige Records, where in addition to releasing his own recordings, he recorded with Sonny Criss, Pat Martino, Eric Kloss, and Charles McPherson. For a year, he served as Abbey Lincoln’s accompanist, and recorded with Lee Morgan from 1966 to 1968. During the mid-1970s, he led the funk group Mobius.

Many of his compositions have been adopted as jazz standards, including “Firm Roots”, “Bolivia” and “Cedar’s Blues”. “Bolivia” is perhaps Walton’s best known composition, while one of his oldest is “Fantasy in D”, recorded under the title “Ugetsu” by Art Blakey in 1963.Cedar Walton 7 28 13

In January 2010, he was inducted as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters.” (wikipedia)

In february this year he played in jazzclub Bimhuis in Amsterdam, in the same week Curtis Fuller gave a concert at the same place. I only visited the Fuller concert. It’s a pity. Happily there was a visitor who recorded (a part of) the concert.

Read further at:

http://www.jazzwax.com/2013/08/cedar-walton-on-giant-steps.html (Jazzwax)

and

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/arts/music/cedar-walton-pianist-and-composer-dies-at-79.html?_r=0 (NYTimes, 8-20-13)

and

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ablogsupreme/2013/08/19/213571089/jazz-piano-giant-cedar-walton-dies-at-79 (NPR Blog)

 

Cedar Walton at the Bimhuis, 2-14-2013:

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Mulgrew Miller

imagesMulgrew Miller, one of our greatest jazzpianists has left us today. We will never hear his voice, his music, alive again.The cause was a stroke, said his longtime manager, Mark Gurley. Mr. Miller had been hospitalized since Friday. (NYTimes, 05-29).

Mulgrew Miller, one of our greatest jazzpianists has left us today. We will never hear his voice, his music, alive again.The cause was a stroke, said his longtime manager, Mark Gurley. Mr. Miller had been hospitalized since Friday. (NYTimes, 05-29).

Miller began his career with Betty Carter (1980), Woody Shaw (1981-1983), and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1983-1986).

He has released four albums with Derrick Hodge (bass) and Karriem Riggins (drums) (both on the label MAXJAZZ): Live At Yoshi’s Vol. 1 (2004), Live At Yoshi’s Vol. 2 (2005), Live At The Kennedy Center Vol. 1 (2006), and Live At The Kennedy Center Vol. 2 (2007).

On May 20, 2006, Miller was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Performing Arts at Lafayette College’s 171st Commencement Exercises.images (1)

Miller spent the last years of his life in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was the Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University and the Artist in Residence at Lafayette Collegefor 2008-2009. His last working trio consisted of Ivan Taylor on bass and Darrell Green on drums.

In conversation with Mulgrew Miller: http://www.jazz.com/features-and-interviews/2009/4/7/in-conversation-with-mulgrew-miller

 

 

Trumpeter Donald Byrd dies at the age of 80

February 8, 2013 1 comment

byrd

The influential jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd died on Monday at the age of 80, his nephew has said.

Alex Bugnon, a jazz pianist, reported his uncle’s death on Thursday, though it has yet to be confirmed.

Bugnon wrote on his own Facebook page: “Donald passed away Monday in Delaware, where he lived. His funeral will be held in Detroit sometime next week. I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family. ” (The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk)

Byrd attended Cass Technical High School. He performed with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school. After playing in a military band during a term in the United States Air Force, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State Uni

versity and a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. While still at the Manhattan School, he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, as replacement for Clifford Brown. In 1955, he recorded with Jackie McLean and Mal Waldron. After leaving the Jazz Messengers in 1956, he performed with many leading jazz musicians of the day, including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, and later Herbie Hancock. Byrd’s first regular group was a quintet that he co-led from 1958-61 with baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, an ensemble whose hard-driving performances are captured “live” on At the Half Note Cafe. In June 1964, Byrd jammed with jazz legend Eric Dolphy in Paris just two weeks before Dolphy’s death from insulin shock.

Byrd lived in Teaneck, New Jersey until his death on February 4, 2013 at the age of 80. (wikipedia.org)

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