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Cedar Walton
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Musician
    (January 17, 1934-August 19, 2013)
    Born in Dallas, Texas
    Jazz musician
    'Hard bop' pianist
    Member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1961-64)
    Recorded the solo albums 'Cedar!' (1967), 'Spectrum' (1968), 'The Electric Boogaloo' (1969), 'Soul Cycle' (1969), 'Breakthrough!' (with Hank Mobley, 1972), 'Mobius' (1975), 'First Set' (1977), 'Second Set' (1977), 'Third Set' (1977), 'Soundscapes' (1980), 'Among Friends' (1982), 'Bluesville Time' (1985), 'Manhattan Afternoon' (1992), 'Latin Tinge' (2001), 'One Flight Down' (2006) and 'The Bouncer' (2011)
    Compositions include 'Bolivia,' 'Cedar's Blues,' 'Firm Roots,' 'Mosaic,' 'Ojos de Rojo,' 'Promised Land' and 'Ugetsu'
    He played glockenspiel in his high school marching band.
    During his time in college, he spent his nights playing in local clubs rather than studying: 'I would try to fake my way through, but it was obvious I hadn't looked at the books.'
    He was content to be in the background until Art Blakey pushed him up front: 'I didn't have that ambition, but he insisted, 'You must be a leader.'
    The cover of his first solo album is a picture of a plank of wood (cedar, presumably), with just a small head shot of him.
    He performed in concert or on record with nearly every other big name in jazz, noting 'I just refused to rule anybody out with any style.'
    Interviewers always noted his gracious manner and sly sense of humor.
    The Chicago Tribune praised his piano playing as 'striking for its subtlety and understatement.'
    He was named a NEA Jazz Master (2010).

Credit: C. Fishel


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