Narada Michael Walden: The Sun Is Dancing
The Sun Is Dancing
Narada Michael Walden (drums)
Garden of Love Light (Wounded Bird WOU 8199)
Narada Michael Walden (drums),
David Sancious (keyboards), Ray Gomez (guitar), Will Lee (bass).
Composed by Narada Michael Walden.
Recorded: New York, 1977
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
Narada Michael Walden, known as Michael Walden before aligning with the guru Sri Chinmoy, came to public attention through his remarkable stint with John McLaughlin's second Mahavishnu Orchestra. He was a different type of drummer than Billy Cobham, the legendary stick man he replaced. No one had Cobham's power. Walden would be the first to tell you that. But Walden had his own type of power and clean speed that awed drummers as well. Even today, 30 or so years since Walden was an active everyday musician, drummers such as Dennis Chambers see him as a legendary figure on the kit.
"The Sun is Dancing" is dedicated to John McLaughlin. Its opening strains are similar in concept to some of the music on the second Mahavishnu Orchestra's Visions of the Emerald Beyond. Its rotating arpeggios and climbing synthesizer runs create an offering toward the sky. And much like that Mahavishnu album, there are dramatic theme changes. The band goes funk-city for some extended measures. Gomez plays clipped minor-9th chords to register his funkiness. Walden and bassist Lee jump in a pocket as David Sancious, another important but underappreciated fusion player, begins some spaced-out noodling. Sancious then adds some gospel organ. A few more nods to jazz-funk, R&B, gospel and the blues permeate the long ending, culminating in a return to the opening melody. You put all that stuff together and you get a damned good fusion performance.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky