Mal Waldron - Number Nineteen

Number Nineteen - 22.14
Trip - 10.11
Watakushi No Sekai - 10.38

Mal Waldron - Number Nineteen

Mal Waldron’s career spanned over 45 years, initially working as a sideman for Billie Holiday and Charles Mingus, while he produced some stunning original music in the early 1960s when he wrote original music for a band that included Eric Dolphy and Booker Little. He also recorded a number of duo albums with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. Waldron quickly developed a distinctive playing style that could be mistaken for no one else, typically performing in a trio setting. A prolific composer, several of his works ("Soul Eyes," "Left Alone," "Straight Ahead" and "Fire Waltz") became jazz standards, recorded by a number of different artists. Waldron was fond of incorporating repeated riffs that gradually evolved as he played his compositions, which often had a brooding and occasionally ominous air. Leaving for Europe in 1965 to work on a film soundtrack, Waldron spent the rest of his life working and performing on the continent, dying of cancer in Belgium in 2002.

The three songs featuring Waldron with bassist Dick van der Capellen and drummer Martin van Duynhoven were recorded in 1971 in a Baarn, Holland studio, all examples of how Waldron works intensely to get the most out of each individual chord sequence before moving on. “Number Nineteen” has an underlying Far Eastern influence and is the highlight of this session as the trio interacts in their extended workout of Waldron’s pensive composition. “Trip” opens with a rapid-fire, insistent vamp. Waldron’s improvised solo is dominated by his staccato right handed chords. The finale, “Watakushi No Sekai,” begins with a choppy vamped introduction before Waldron dives head first into a dark, brooding improvisation, fading into the background during the solos of both van der Capellen and van Duynhoven, returning to the theme as the piece recedes with a fadeout. These long unavailable performances compare with some of Mal Waldron’s best known trio recordings.


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