Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Broadcloth In New Haven, Cedar Walton Passes, and Steve Turre Makes 'Bones
For more information, go to broadclothtrio.com.
I saw Cedar Walton play in April of 2007 in a trio setting with bassist David Williams and drummer Yoron Israel. If you had only heard his music on record or CDs, you certainly would come away impressed but, seeing and hearing him play in a concert setting, the music was so much better. First and foremost, Mr. Walton was a master pianist, never flaunting his technique, making certain the other members of the Trio has plenty of solo space, and, perhaps even more impressive, he looked like he was having the best time. Many of his solos showed the influences of blues and hard-bop yet he never abandoned melody for showmanship. Yes, he had great "chops" but also great taste. Click here to hear Cedar Walton on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz" in 2010, the show hosted by another tasteful pianist, Bill Charlap.
Turre's vision was to employ 3 bones on each track and he picked wisely. As ungainly as the instrument can be in the arms of amateurs, that's how graceful, melodic, funky, raucous and joyous the 'bones sound on these songs. Whether it's the straight-ahead groove of "Slide's Ride" (dedicated to another trombonist and Blakey alum, Slide Hampton) or the forceful modern blues of Lacy's "Settegast Strut" (the composer gets "down and dirty" on this tribute to his neighborhood in Houston, Texas) or the rolling railroad strut of the leader's "Sunset", this music is engrossing from beginning to end. Pianist Davis is quite integral to the success of this endeavor, whether he's comping behind the soloists or getting down on his own (as he displays on Turre's "Julian Blues", dedicated to Julian Priester who, yes..., also recorded with Blakey). Bassist Washington's thick tones underpin pieces like "Daylight" and plays the melody with the 'bones on the opening section of Steve Davis's "Bird Bones". Drummer Davis III is a solid rhythm man, pushing the beat when called upon or painting ballads with quieter sounds - he is the model of support on "Fuller Beauty", Turre's evocative slow piece dedicated to trombonist and Blakey alum Curtis Fuller and he most certainly brings on the funk on Turre's tribute to Eubanks, "4 & 9."
Steve Turre's mighty musical conch shells only show up on the final track but his trombone is in full bloom throughout "The Bones of Art." His fellow practitioners of the descendant of the medieval sackbut each has his own "sound" and it's a real pleasure to hear how they combine their sounds on each track. Best of all, these songs are not just "blowing tunes" but well-thought out melodies and harmonies - the solos flow organically on these pieces. Art Blakey would certainly be happy with and honored by this music. For more information about the leader, go to www.steveturre.com. To hear an excellent interview with the trombonist, click on www.wbgo.org/thecheckout/the-bones-of-art-steve-turre/.