Mal Waldron - Signals

Signals - 7.37
Things That Go Bump In The Night - 8.36
Zapata - 10.32
Touch Of The Blues - 8.42

Mal Waldron - Signals

During a career that spanned over 45 years, pianist Mal Waldron quickly developed a distinctive playing style that could be mistaken for no one else. 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. This brilliant 1971 solo piano session, briefly available on a Freedom LP in the early 1970s but never reissued in the digital age until now, catches him in his prime. Waldron plays four stunning originals that he evidently never again recorded.

“Signals” opens with a insistent raindrop-like vamp, evolving into a Native-American-like chant, then segueing into a robust post-bop theme. Initially “Things That Go Bump in the Night” has a nightmarish air with his dissonant, sweeping treble chords, though it quickly subsides as Waldron eases his use of the sustain pedal and gradually softens his playing, though the piece continues to alter its shape, much like a jumbled dream that makes little sense upon awakening. Since there were no liner notes accompanying the LP release of <I>Signals</I>, it can not be assumed that “Zapata” refers to the famous Mexican revolutionary, though this turbulent post-bop work stands out. “Touch of the Blues” is a soothing finale by comparison to the preceding performances, a subdued number that retains the distinctive Waldron touch while incorporating the influences of earlier jazz styles.


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