During his long career, Cedar Walton has been one of hard bop's most lyrical pianists, as demonstrated on this 2005 trio session for the Japanese label Venus. No matter the tempo or approach, it is very easy to find oneself singing along with Walton's infectious melodies, whether it is the driving "Cedar's Blues," the lighthearted "Midnight Waltz," or his bossa nova salute to a great Brazilian composer "Theme for Jobim." That hardly means the remaining tracks are filler, as there isn't a weak selection present. "Dear Ruth" is a coy piece that must be named for someone special in Walton's life, as this work has a playful, yet reserved aura. Walton saves two of his best-known works for last, a intricate take of "Bolivia," followed by the showstopping finale "Ugetsu." Bassist David Williams and drummer Jimmy Cobb provide great support throughout this enjoyable session.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden