I had been meaning to present a blog on one of Walton's piano solos, which alto saxophonist Steve Wilson called "the perfect solo." It's from Eddie Harris' recording "The In Sound"; on the tune " The Shadow Of Your Smile," Walton takes the first solo, and it's truly one chorus of brilliance. I had learned it by ear, but I hadn't gotten around to entering it into Sibelius. This recording inspired my to record my own version of the tune on my "Come Together" album. If you have a chance, check it out:
And if you have more time, here is my version.
Cedar Walton was an indisputably great pianist, bandleader, sideman, and composer. For some reason, possibly because he never became a superstar in the fusion-filled 70's ( much like Woody Shaw and others), he seems to not get mentioned as often as other pianists. I believe Eric Reed organized a tribute to Cedar Walton a few years back at Lincoln Center. Walton's passing reminds me that we need to appreciate the masters while they are still alive. Don't take the older musicians for granted; we can learn way more than we realize from the older generations. Energy and youthful vigor can be appealing, however, much of playing jazz is about wisdom. Seek wisdom when you can.