Cedar Walton

Live at Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Vol. 25

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Although this is hardly Cedar Walton's first attempt to go completely solo, his fans still know him primarily from his ensemble work and will no doubt be surprised and pleased with this album, No. 25 in the Maybeck Recital Hall series. After warming up with an intricate self-composed workout, "The Maybeck Blues," Walton veers into some standards ("Stella By Starlight," "Sweet Lorraine") with the polystylistic twists and turns of an Art Tatum. Walton's other composition "Bremond's Blues" is somehow generated by the changes from "Giant Steps" -- a neat trick. Beyond the strong Tatum influence, Walton remains a strong hard bopper with his right hand, a manner that takes very well to the characteristically bright, crisp tone of the hall's Yamaha pianos; but he also displays as fully equipped a harmonic arsenal as that of anyone. The CD concludes with a technical tour de force on "Just One of Those Things," which almost, but not quite, ties itself in knots.

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