Monday, March 01, 2010
To the Cedar Walton Quartet at the (deep breath) Hunt Real Estate-David Kennedy Art of Jazz at the Albright-Knox yesterday. I've been hoping Bruce Eaton would book Walton since I realized that the series was an ongoing affair, and I think Bruce has had him on his list for a long time too. He was as excited as I've ever seen him before the show, and it soon became clear why: these guys (Javon Jackson tenor, David Williams on bass and drummer Billy Drummond) swung into their set with smooth power. It was like being in a Blue Note album. There are moments when I'm listening to this sort of hard bop music when I am pretty convinced that the musicians who came out of the post-war jazz scene made the greatest contribution to American culture of anyone in any other field-- literature, cinema, you name it. This was one of those moments. These four cats were consummate pros, with a deep and profound understanding of the jazz idiom, and listening to them imbued us with insight. The pre-show this time was a movie about Horace Parlan, another pianist from that time, and at one point in the film Parlan, who has lived in Denmark since 1973, talked about the pressures of living in New York and being a creative artist in the 60s and 70s. It has to have been a difficult road for these artists, and we are fortunate that they stayed the course because the work they are producing is still as exciting, engaging and important today as it has always been.