Thursday, August 04, 2011

Mal Waldron Quintet - The Git Go-live At The Village Vanguard

Pianist and composer Mal Waldron is something of an unsung hero in jazz, despite a lengthy career that featured him doing everything from recording with John Coltrane and Billie Holiday in the 1950’s to recording duets with the likes of Archie Shepp and David Murray in the early 2000’s just prior to his passing. In between, Maldron was a dependable journeyman, making a lot of records from many labels, like this set, which was recorded at the venerable Village Vanguard Jazz Club in New York City. Consisting of two long improvisations, and joined by an excellent band including Woody Shaw on trumpet, Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone and flute, Reggie Workman on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums, Waldron lets the music simmer and solos well in addition to providing excellent support to this fine cast. "Status Seeking" is the first performance, taken at a moderately fast pace, and the band is right on top of it. Clocking in at twenty minutes, it gives everybody a chance to explore the tune and solo at length, especially Woody Shaw (another unsung hero) who takes a spitfire solo. The other track “Git Go” is even longer, at twenty five minutes, the group establishes a rock-solid medium tempo groove around Workman’s huge bass and Waldron’s insistent chords. Ed Blackwell is excellent on this track, keeping the beat while providing accents and ideas of his own. Rouse and Shaw get lengthy solos as well that are well crafted and thoughtful, and especially patient, introducing ideas, playing them out and then moving on. Two very lengthy tracks, but both with differences and excellent playing that never lets them drift or become stale. This was a very good album, and definitely worth picking up at the crazy-low prices Amazon sells much of the Black Saint/Soul Note catalog on mp3. Listening to talented musicians like these just play and jam without any self-consciousness is a treat. The Git Go-live At The Village Vanguard - amazon.com

See also: Ethan Iverson on Mal Waldron.

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