Charlie Mariano & Mal Waldron - Autumn Dreams (1991)

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Charlie Mariano & Mal Waldron - Autumn Dreams (1991)

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01.Floating Cherry Blossoms (Mal Waldron)
02.Greensleeves (traditional) play
03.Cry Me A River (A. Hamilton)
04.Early Autumn (R. Burna)
05.Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise (S. Romberg)
06.Autumn Dreams (Mal Waldron)
07.Randy (Charlie Mariano)
08.Autumn Leaves (J. Kosma) play
09.'Tis Autumn (H. Nema)
10.The Thrill Is Gone (R. Henderson)

Charlie Mariano– Alto Sax
Mal Waldron– Piano
Paulo Cardoso– Bass
John Betsch– Drums


This is well-behaved jazz, which succeeds in fending corniness off while disappointing for not exploring the possibilities offered by the skills of the players. I don’t want to tattle culprits, but it appears that it was altoist Charlie Mariano who kept Maldon Trio grounded. The latter don't sound angry for not being allowed to take-off, as they have proved at large they are able to. Hence, playing the ‘I scratch your backs and you guys scratch mine’, the combo missed the chance to commit a strong statement in 'clean sounding’ contemporary jazz. A jazz that would still be devoid of flirts with atonalism and dissonances, would be full of ‘partial solutions’, all of them as brilliant as predictable, and which wouldn’t lead to any sort of innovation. But who cares for innovations when Mal gives the cards? Problem here is that he was not the one in croupier duty.

A pianist with a brooding, rhythmic, introverted style, Mal Waldron's playing has long been flexible enough to fit into both hard bop and freer settings. Influenced by Thelonious Monk's use of space, Waldron has had his own distinctive chord voicings nearly from the start. Early on, Waldron played jazz on alto and classical music on piano, but he switched permanently to jazz piano while at Queens College. He freelanced around New York in the early '50s with Ike Quebec (for whom he made his recording debut), Big Nick Nicholas and a variety of R&B-ish groups. Waldron frequently worked with Charles Mingus from 1954-56 and was Billie Holiday's regular accompanist during her last two years (1957-59). Often hired by Prestige to supervise recording sessions, Waldron contributed many originals (including "Soul Eyes," which became a standard) and basic arrangements that prevented spontaneous dates from becoming overly loose jam sessions. He has mostly led his own groups since Holiday's death, although he was part of the Eric Dolphy Booker Little Quintet that was recorded extensively at the Five Spot in 1961, and also worked with Abbey Lincoln for a time during the era. He wrote three film scores (The Cool World, Three Bedrooms In Manhattan and Sweet Love Bitter) before moving permanently to Europe in 1965, settling in Munich in 1967. Waldron, who has occasionally returned to the U.S. for visits, has long been a major force in the European jazz world. His album Free at Last was the first released by ECM, and his Black Glory was the fourth Enja album. Mal Waldron, who frequently teamed up with Steve Lacy (often as a duet), kept quite busy up through the '90's, featuring a style that evolved but was certainly traceable to his earliest record dates. Among the many labels that have documented his music have been Prestige, New Jazz, Bethlehem, Impulse, Musica, Affinity, ECM, Futura, Nippon Phonogram, Enja, Freedom, Black Lion, Horo, Teichiku, Hat Art, Palo Alto, Eastwind, Baybridge, Paddle Wheel, Muse, Free Lance, Soul Note, Plainisphere and Timeless. In September of 2002, Waldron was diagnosed with cancer. Remaining optimistic, he continued to tour until he passed away on December 2nd in Brussels, Belgium at the age of 76. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

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Last Updated (Friday, 15 August 2014 09:05)