Mal Waldron


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The piano style of Mal Waldron is one of the most readily identifiable sounds in the history of jazz. There's something dazzling about his touch, his fascinating dark tones in his left hand, and the overall hypnotic effect of his playing. This solo session from 1988 was taped in Toronto for the obscure Dark Light Music label, though it is one well worth tracking down. The pianist's interpretations of standards on this date are among the best of his career. "Yesterdays" is strident, with new facets not heard in recordings by other keyboardists. His deliberate introduction to Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" quickly unfolds into an elaborate hard bop firestorm, while Monk's "Let's Call This" adds a seesaw bassline while emphasizing the composer's roots in stride piano. His reflective look at George Gershwin's "How Long Has This Been Going On" will make any Gershwin fan sit up and take notice. Also not to be missed are Waldron's original works, especially the driving but bittersweet "No Kick."

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