Cedar Walton

Eastern Rebellion, Vol. 2

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This version of Eastern Rebellion, led by pianist Cedar Walton, features Bob Berg on tenor, along with Sam Jones on bass, Billy Higgins on drums, and an occasional Curtis Fuller on trombone. Walton wrote all the tunes, which range from relaxed straight ahead jazz to hard bop. While the consistent concept -- different horns with a rock-solid rhythm section performing the pianist's compositions -- is a winning one, the quality of the Eastern Rebellion groups has varied with time. Berg is a good fit; his big toned, post-Coltrane sound challenges the trio, and the results are usually more than satisfactory. Fuller's brief contribution only makes one wish for more. Higgins, Jones, and Walton are all-star quality, and it shows. The music is unassuming, without theatrics or extended technique, and as a result may get lost in the shuffle. This is, however, a polished and pleasing set by first-rate talent, and it achieves its goal of exciting, mainstream fare with a 1970s flair.

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