Cedar Walton | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Cedar Walton


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In jazz, every generation seems to produce one or two pianists without whom the music would be, quite simply, unimaginable: their grasp of the past and present places them in great demand, and by acting as accompanists in literally hundreds of recording sessions, they become unique shapers of the jazz of their eras. The list includes Teddy Wilson in the 30s, Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan in the 50s, Herbie Hancock in the 60s, and Kenny Barron and Cedar Walton during the last two decades. Walton's gifts are obvious from the first hearing--a sparkling technique; an imagination that joyfully celebrates the mystery of improvisation; an apparently limitless knowledge of modern harmony; the ability to balance the piano's percussive and melodic capacities--but your appreciation of them deepens with repeated listenings. It is this quality, along with his body of impressive original compositions, that has made Walton a favorite among his peers. Indeed, Walton is only in his mid-50s, but younger musicians are already dedicating their own tunes to him. Tonight through Sunday, High Hat Club, 812 N. Franklin; 787-6333.

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