Tribute to Cedar Walton (1934-2013)

Cedar Walton, Michael Mwenso

Michael Mwenso writes about  Cedar Walton, who passed away earlier today: 

I feel very blessed that I was one of the fortunate few who were able to witness the magic of Cedar Anthony Walton.

My first encounter was as a little twelve year old hunched in a corner at Ronnie Scotts in London. There my ears and my eyes marveled at the synergy between Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins and David Williams. This trio has long been one of my favourite groups. It wasn’t about playing fast or hurried solos. These three men played music in a relaxed but yet intense manner, and with such ease and pace. There was so much going on simultaneously that it was impossible to believe it all was being presented with such clarity, logic, and empathy. What also amazed me were the compositions that were being played - the whole set was Cedar’s music. He really was a musician’s musician - he could write and arrange music, play behind any singer or band and make them sound 100 percent better all while maintaining his own original sound!

Gradually, over the years he came to recognize me and let me hang with them downstairs in the club; the repartee was incredible. This gentleman would talk on all subjects - religion, politics, art and everything else under the sun. I am extremely happy that I got to see him in July at the Vanguard and had the opportunity to talk and hang with him at length.

 These are now treasured memories.

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