What finer virtuoso musicians could one imagine than Cedar Walton on piano, Javon Jackson on tenor sax, bassist Buster Williams and legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb? The Iridium Jazz Club was full to capacity on an early spring evening in 2010, with these four all-star jazz masters there to display their craft. The club changed the tables around, putting them at angles to the stage, so that now everyone has a great view of the bandstand.
The set I heard was bluesy and relaxed, which was a fresh and pleasant surprise against the hustle and bustle of New York City. They played some great song selections, ranging from Coltrane’s “John Paul Jones” to well-known standards (“All the Things You Are,” “Old Folks” and “My Shining Hour”).
Each member of the quartet got a chance to solo on the unfamiliar blues, “John Paul Jones.” They expertly traded choruses with drummer Cobb, whose phrases were a lesson for the audience.
The unique rendition of “All the Things You Are” had to be Cedar's idea, and it really worked. Javon soared on tenor over Cedar’s hip harmonic changes, and Buster grabbed everyone's attention with a fantastic bass solo. He built up his phrases into the higher registers and elicited a big round of applause!
Jimmy Cobb switched to brushes for the beautiful ballad “Old Folks.” This was a feature for Javon Jackson, as he carefully phrased his notes and developed his solo into a long and melodic statement. Cedar also took a powerful solo on piano, choosing all the right options with sensitive nuances.
“In the Kitchen” was a bluesy shuffle that had a great lively head. This was just plain fun, and the energy level was high. Buster got a fantastic tone on his bass!
The closer of the set was “My Shining Hour.” Set up by Jimmy Cobb at a fast tempo, the all-stars interpreted the tune similarly to the Coltrane version. The funny thing was, Cedar's cell-phone rang just as Buster's solo began! He answered it and said he couldn't talk at the moment! Cobb played a crowd-pleasing drum solo, pulling out all the stops. This band would do well to keep working together - they have great musical chemistry.