Mal Waldron

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Waldron-Haslam Review

by Steve Loewy

Mal Waldron's dark, circumspect approach is in full force as he carves agile lines with the help of British baritone saxophonist George Haslam. The diverse program includes a couple of standards ("I Got It Bad [And That Ain't Good]" and "If I Were a Bell"), a twist on a classical favorite ("Variations on Brahms 3, Movement 3"), a Waldron original ("A Time for Duke"), a tune by Haslam ("The Vortex"), and a couple of jointly improvised efforts ("Catch as Catch Could" and "Motion in Order"). The two musicians are fully in sync, aside from the few times, particularly on the improvised pieces, where there is a tendency to ramble. Haslam boasts a singularly attractive, thin tone that balances the pianist's dense styling. The commanding improvisations by both Haslam and Waldron straddle the boundaries of free and post-bop jazz in a compellingly charming way.

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