Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Aug. 23 & 28

Christian McBride’s new trio record with Christian Sands and Ulysses Owens Jr. is so good it relieves me of all worry about the contemporary jazz scene, and I’d already programmed it to lead the show—Friday at 8PM, noon next Tuesday, East Side Bagel time—and had put a Dexter Gordon set featuring Cedar Walton in the middle when the news of Walton’s passing came in. I reversed the order—Cedar is fantastic on the album, Generation, with Freddie, Buster and Billy too—and put his classics Mosaic and Ugetsu at the end. I heard Cedar Walton a lot growing up, close up in Al Heath’s trio at the Five Spot and then with Art Blakey and the Messengers, and have long been a grateful fan of his artistry and person. Playing him on the show’s not much payback but at least I can do it. Also in the middle, Seven Early Songs by Alban Berg—night and death and love and such—which Barbara Bonney sings the heaven and hell out of—and what I think is Einojuhani Rautavaara’s finest symphony, Angel of Light. I wish Cedar Walton no less than that, and in fact even better.cedar3

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