"Cedar Walton, one of the top jazz pianists to emerge in the aftermath of bebop, died Monday morning at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to his wife, Martha. Walton was 79. The pianist and composer/arranger rose to eminence after an early-1960s spell in drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and continually cemented his reputation as a bluesy, graceful and commanding improviser up until his death. But Walton's legacy also rests on a body of compositions, at least one of which became a standard ('Bolivia'); his ability to orchestrate small groups also secured him work and opportunities to lead his own bands…. In his later years, he still toured and recorded frequently, and his December residency at New York's Village Vanguard became a highlight on the city's jazz calendar.
—One by one the greats are all leaving the stage. Above, a 1963 performance from the Messengers of that era; below, Walton soloing on "Blue Monk" in the '70s.
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013