Cedar Walton has long been recognized as one of the greats among his fellow musicians, but jazz fans may not truly know how many important compositions he has contributed to the jazz canon. This sampler, drawn from recordings for the HighNote and Savant labels, features ten tracks by seven different artists who interpret Walton's compositions. Latin percussionist Sammy Figueroa's fiery setting of "Firm Roots" and funky Latin take of the pianist's well-known "Bolivia" stand out. The late tenor saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman included Walton in his rhythm section for his interpretations of the terrific hard bop vehicle "Black" and hard-blowing performance of "Cedar's Blues" (with terrific solos all around). Guitarist Larry Coryell included Walton in "Fantasy in D" and "Newest Blues." Pianist Mike LeDonne, tenor saxophonist Houston Person, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, and vocalist Mark Murphy also offer strong interpretations of gems written by Cedar Walton. This compilation will likely get people to not only investigate the CDs from which they were taken, but the original recordings by Walton of each song as well.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden