Friday, March 12, 2010

Mal Waldron

Spring break here is almost over.  If you are wondering why I have posted a lot lately, that would be it.  Expect the pace to be back at once or twice a week soon.  This blog is pure hobby.  All play and no work makes Jack a poor boy.  

I have thoroughly enjoyed the recent exchange on avant garde jazz with intrepid reader Dan.  I have taken his suggestion (endorsed by Ken Laster) and changed my masthead to more accurately reflect what is in this blog.  I am very satisfied with my progress as a jazz fan.  I am still firmly devoted to hard bop.  But the avant garde jazz I have learned to appreciate has opened up a lot of new dimensions in my ear.  

One thing that Dan and I certainly agree on is that avant garde experimentation has turned great profits for more straight ahead bop.  Anthony Braxton's Monk album, reviewed in my last post, is a fine example.  

Another is the work of Mal Waldron.  I still remember buying a vinyl record of Waldron's back in the old days.  I think it was Blues for Lady Day.  I had no idea who Waldron was or what his position in jazz history might have been, or what led me to get that album.  A few years after I put that record on my turntable, Waldron recorded a superb session in New York.  It was1989, the year my son was born and I took a job in South Dakota.  

Two records came out of that session: Crowd Scene, and Where Are You?  Both are very fine, and available from eMusic.  I have been listening to both of them over the last two days, along with another two albums from a live session at the Village Vanguard:  The Seagulls of Kristiansund, and The Git Go Live at the Village Vanguard

I have posted frequently on Waldron.  His work is a superb catalog of jazz adventure.  I am very fond of his many duet albums.  Waldron's compositions reveal a soul too beautiful to easily imagine in this world.  Crowd Scene consists of just two long pieces.  They are the jazz equivalent of what rock and rollers would call jam sessions.  The substance of the piece is along bluesy line, stitching together the string of solos.  The bluesy line substitutes for melody.  

I was mesmerized by the title piece from Crowd Scene.  I offer it here, but you have to promise to download the whole album and Where Are You? as well.  If you keep this piece and don't pay for the rest, a demon will come after you.  Just sayin'. 

Update: I have replaced the complete file with excerpt that contains a good slice of the song.  It cuts out the intro, and the second half of the number.  Listen to it and you will get a very good idea of the power of this recording. 
Mal Walron Quintet/Crowd Scene/Excerpt
Here's the band, from the Jazz Discography Project (may God reward them): Sonny Fortune (as) Ricky Ford (ts) Mal Waldron (p) Reggie Workman (b) Eddie Moore (d). 

1 comment:

  1. Hello to anyone...I am trying to find a download of a RARE Mal Waldron CD recorded and released shortly before his death. The CD also features vocals from the Legend ABBEY LINCOLN; who never released those tracks [under her name] which is featured on the following album [which makes it SO MUCH RARER] CAN SOMEBODY help me find

    Mal Waldron's' SOUL EYES *1997