Cedar Walton Big Band Project - Day 5 Holy Land

Holy Land

Holy Land was first recorded by Cedar Walton in 1973 on the record  The Cedar Walton Trio - A Night At Boomers, Vol. 1 (today both volumes are on one CD or digital download). This record features Clifford Jordan, Sam Jones, and Louis Hayes.  Holy Land is a minor blues that is much more than a standard 12 bar blues. Harmonically, the tune moves to the IV and I chords in the expected places, but Walton also includes a ii-V to Eb major key center (bIII) in mm 6. Additionally, the chords in measure mm. 9 and 10 are different many of the turnarounds in standard minor blues' (VI7 bVI). One of the most notable features of the tune is the solo piano rubato introduction/interlude before and between the melody. I love to listen to the multiple recordings of Walton playing this tune. He never plays it the same way twice. The listener can hear him exploring different elements of pacing, style, and harmony. Furthermore, the rubato interludes are a unique sonic change from all of the rhythm section playing together at the same time. 

Walton recorded this tune several times in the trio and quartet settings. The first two recordings were quartet sessions that featured tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan. The second recording of this tune can be found on a Clifford Jordan record titled Clifford Jordan Quartet Half Note (Steeplechase) 

In addition to Walton and Jordan, the session features Sam Jones and Tootie Heath. While the recording quality of the record isn't great, the playing is burning! In addition to Holy Land the band also plays Cedar's Midnight Waltz. I've always enjoyed Cedar's work with Clifford Jordan. His playing always seems to be inspired. And his comping! Cedar's comping is grooving, supportive, as well as suggestive. As a pianist I continue to be drawn to how Cedar comps behind Clifford Jordan on Half Note. Sam Jones and Tootie Heath really hook up well too. They provide solid swingin beat for Walton and Jordan. 

I will close this installment by recommending some recordings on which Clifford Jordan is the leader. Cedar plays on all of them and in most cases the rhythm section is Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. It's also pretty common for at least one Walton original to show on these recordings too. 

Glass Bead Games
Night at the Mark VII
Clifford Jordan and Magic Triangle - Firm Roots


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