Cedar Walton Big Band Project - Day 9 Black


Cedar Walton has played with some of the greatest tenor players in the history of jazz music. Players including Clifford Jordan, George Coleman, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Junior Cook. 

Cedar contributed many compositions to bands and recording sessions that he was a part of. We begin to see many of his compositions and arrangements showing up with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Tunes like - Mosaic, Plexus, and The Promise Land. 

One of my favorite records on which Walton played and contributed tunes as sideman was Mode for Joe lead by Joe Henderson. Henderson and Walton are joined by Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter, and Joe Chambers. Everyone plays so well on this record, but check out Joe Chambers! There are so many great moments.  For this record date, Walton contributed two originals Mode of Joe (oddly enough not written for Joe Henderson) and Black.

Black is very reminiscent of a tune that the Messengers would play. 4 horn writing (counting vibes) A sustained introduction before launching into a groove before the head starts. The blowing form is 40 bars that are comprised of a balance of sustained and faster moving harmonic rhythm in the A sections and bridge respectively - a tune that is a perfect vehicle for Joe Henderson. Black is a Cedar tune that hasn't been recording much (to my knowledg), once on this Joe Henderson record and once on a Cedar Walton tribute recording titled Cedar Chest: The Cedar Walton Songbook which features many different guest artists. 

Since we're talking about tenor players, I thought I'd share a link that offers a little more about Cedar and his involvement John Coltrane and the classic record Giant Steps. When the "alternate takes" of the record were released many years after recording, we learned Walton played on these. He in fact was asked to do the record date with Coltrane, but was scheduled to go out on the road with another band. The "alternate takes" included on later released recordings of Giant Steps were really rehearsal recordings according to Walton.  Here's a link to that story: Cedar Walton Giant Steps Story 

And now for the music!


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