The Cedar Walton of 1977-78 was the Cedar Walton of Beyond Mobius, The Pentagon, Firm Roots and Animation. His sympathies at the time ranged from Fusion groups to larger ensembles and leading his own quartet featuring the players on this live recording from the Keystone Korner's Rahsaan Roland Kirk Memorial Jazz Festival. The quartet, consisting of Cedar, saxophonist Bob Berg, drummer Billy Higgins and bassist David Williams (previously Sam Jones), was an acclaimed group who played and toured together regularly from the late 70s into the early 80s. It was this very same aggregation that backed Abbey Lincoln on her 1980 Muse Records recording, The Maestro. In The Rough Guide to Jazz, author Brian Priestly calls the work of Cedar and Billy Higgins "one of the great rhythm-section partnerships of all time" and called Bob Berg "one of the most gifted of the post-Coltrane saxophonists."
Freddie Hubbard is not usually considered a "regular" with Cedar Walton but their association extends back into the early 1960s Jazz Messengers and Hubbard's 1961 album, Hub Cap. Their comfort level with each other is apparent in Freddie's three tracks and raises the trumpeter's contributions far above that of a mere "guest artist."
Released here for the first time anywhere, these performances bristle with excitement and electricity with all the participants at the peak of their powers. This recording is an important document rescued from oblivion by HighNote Records.
CEDAR WALTON, piano • Freddie Hubbard, trumpet & flugelhorn • Bob Berg, tenor saxophone • David Williams, bass • Billy Higgins, drums
TRACKS: Midnight Waltz • Ugetsu • For All We Know • Byrdlike • Jacob's Ladder • Impressions