December 30, 2015

Mal Waldron - Impressions (1961)

God fucking damn dude, Mal Waldron was unstoppable in the late 50s/early 60s. The Quest is his most talked about album nowadays and I can't see why--it's one of my lower-rated jazz albums because Ron Carter on cello is always some bullshit and that album just kind of spirals into meh starting at that. Mal also has his dope ECM years with fascinating bands and exceptional recording quality, but this forgotten album is on some other shit. Waldron performs on one of my top five jazz albums (or sessions I should say) of all time: Eric Dolphy's 1961 Five Spot date with Booker Little, Richard Davis, and Ed Blackwell, and he delivers much of the same style of those recordings here. I love how he often limits himself to a single octave on both hands for many bars at a time and explores all kinds of dynamics and combinations on such a narrow range of notes. This dude proves himself to be an elite at his instrument and as a composer. He takes influence from and gives back to all kinds of great pianists ranging in style from Powell to Taylor to Hancock and lets his unique chime ring on.