Mal Waldron: Fire Waltz
Mal Waldron (piano)
The Quest (Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-082-2)
Composed by Mal Waldron.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 27, 1961
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
The fire on this, the original recording of one of the pianist’s most enduring original compositions, emanates primarily from Booker Ervin’s potently keening tenor saxophone. Waldron’s own short solo typifies his style: insistent and blues-tinged, sprinkled with note clusters inspired by Monk’s example but sounding like no one but Waldron himself. The other two soloists are Carter, whose cello playing here sounds undisciplined compared to his work on the piccolo bass in later decades, and bassist Benjamin, who turns in a competent, if not brilliant effort. There’s no Dolphy solo here, but he would make up for it the following month with his classic live rendition of the piece captured at New York’s Five Spot.
Reviewer: Cliff Preiss