Ben Waltzer

In Metropolitan Motion

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For his third CD, pianist Waltzer continues to expand his compositional horizons as well as stylistic nuance. Tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry is back for a few cuts, while bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Gerald Cleaver hold down the rhythmic fort nicely, and hand percussionist Mohammed Naseehu Ali adds neat ethnic inflections here and there. With McHenry, the band specializes in post-bop similar to Wayne Shorter's "Orbits" on "Crooked Timber," uses ticktock beats with Ali's flavorings and tenor/piano stair-step unison lines for "Bass Line," while McHenry cops a Joe Henderson-ish attitude on the loping 4/4 swing "Port Royal." Waltzer adops McCoy Tyner's stance on the outstanding 6/8 modal swing of "The Blonde Bedouin," cops Ahmad Jamal's delicacy for the stealth jungle stalk to light swing à la "Midnight Sun" of "Arbella," and uses choppy Monk-ish piano chords in the 7/8 light funk "Sooky-Sooky Now." Free and loose rhythms inform "El Abandono" and the spirit ballad "Prelude #4," and there's a darker, neat waltz from Waltzer on "Layla's Dream," while hand percussion is most prevalent in the Native American-shaded mystery piano of "Par(Nas)se" or 6/8 workouts "Kira Da Anshi I/II." Spatial piano and bass on "La Ville Tentaculaire" and darker or lighter "Ruminations" crop up on three occasions as interludes. Waltzer continues to develop his individualists voice while asserting himself as a broad-minded mainstream to progressivist. His star is on the rise, and this recording is easily recommended.

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