For many years, a special part of David Hazeltine’s Christmas Eve ritual was to go to the Village Vanguard and listen to Cedar Walton play. The pianist has been listening to and trying to incorporate aspects of Cedar’s style since 1974. He first met Walton in 1982 and saw him play many times after that but didn’t really get to know him until 1994 when Hazeltine moved back to New York City. Walton passed away in August of 2013. Hazeltine’s new trio CD, “I Remember Cedar,” is a testament to his deep love and admiration for the musical genius that was Cedar Walton.
Legendary Russian pianist, composer and arranger Nick Levinovsky is supported by his friend, saxophonist Igor Butman and his Moscow Jazz Orchestra on “Special Opinion,” a non-traditional session of music presenting funk, fusion, jazz-rock, a tinge of psychedelic, and straight-ahead jazz. The fourth disc in the Orchestra’s discography features special guests Dave Weckl on drums, Mike Stern and Mitch Stein on guitars, Bill Evans on reeds, Randy Brecker on trumpet and Tom Kennedy on bass. As allaboutjazz.com sums it up, “Levinovsky does a bang up job in melding influences of funk and fusion into traditional jazz orchestrations to produce a swinging sound that packs a punch.”
Also this week, drummer Louis Hayes leads his Cannonball Adderly Legacy Band “Live at Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club”; organist Tony Monaco introduces guitarist Fareed Haque to his trio on “Furry Slippers”; and veteran saxophonist Greg Abate is joined by bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker on “Motif.”