Cedar Walton Big Band Project - Day 4 Fiesta Español

Fiesta Español


 

Fiesta Español was first recorded in 1981 by Junior Cook on the record Somethin's Cookin' (It can also be found on iTunes under the title Senior Cookin). In addition to Walton the record featured Buster Williams and Billy Higgins. Cedar doesn't have that many compositions that strictly stay in a latin groove for the entire tune (Ojos De Rojo and Theme for Jobim being others that comes to mind). Many of Walton's tunes that have a latin groove alternate between latin and swing tunes like Mosaic and Voices Deep Within. Like many of Walton's tunes it complete or already arranged in that it has an introduction and solo sendoff/extension on the form. Fiesta Español is one of Walton's tunes that was not recorded as many as some. Walton recorded it as a leader in 1985 on Cedar's Blues again in 1995 Ironclad - Live at Yoshi's (in the trio format) and again in 1997 on the album Roots.  Roots was put out on the Astor Place label. It features Ron Carter and Lewis Nash in the rhythm section as well as guest soloists Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, and Mark Whitfield, as well as a five horn band (and one auxiliary percussionist) that plays the arrangements written by Walton. Tenor Saxophonist Junior Cook recorded the tune twice (once in 1981 shown above and again in 1991 on the Steeplechase label titled Junior Cook - You Leave Me Breathless).

My favorite recording of this tune Cedar's trio rendition of it from Ironclad - Live at Yoshi's. 


In this recording Walton plays the tune at a brighter clip than previously recordings. As a soloist when playing a tune like this, there is a temptation to "go for it" and to come out of the gates too fast leaving yourself nowhere to go. While I don't advocate for improvisors to plan out a solo or build a solo, there is a very natural build that occurs in Cedar's solo on this particular recording. In the midst of Walton's solo on this tune, he quotes the tune I Love You which demonstrates his musical sense of humor. Walton would occasionally quote other tunes when improvising much in the same Charlie Parker did. There's never any shtick involved, just the essence of a true improvisor.  *** (the clip below is from a compilation, but comes from Live at Yoshi's pictured above.)



 

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