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Encyclopedia > Mal Waldron

Malcolm Earl Waldron (August 16, 1926 - December 2, 2002) was an American jazz and world music pianist and composer. His jazz work was chiefly in the hard bop and post-bop genres. He is known for his distinctive chord voicings and adaptable style, which was originally inspired by the playing of Thelonious Monk.

After obtaining a B.A. in music from Queen's College, New York, he worked in New York City in the early 1950s with Ike Quebec, Nick Nicholas, and rhythm and blues groups. He worked frequently with Charles Mingus from 1954 to 1956 and was Billie Holiday's regular accompanist from 1957 until her death in 1959. He also supervised recording sessions for Prestige Records, for which he provided arrangements and compositions (including the jazz standard "Soul Eyes"). After Holiday's death he chiefly led his own groups. He continued to perform until his death.

Besides performing he composed film, theatre, and ballet scores. After working on a film score in Europe he moved there permanently in 1965.

He was frequently recorded, both as a leader and sideman, with, among others, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Clifford Jordan, Booker Little, Steve Lacy, and Jackie McLean.

Waldron passed away in December 2002 in Brussels, Belgium.

Selected albums

  • Mal-1 (1956)
  • McLean's Scene (1956) (Jackie McLean leader)
  • Mal-2 (1957)
  • The Quest, 1961 (Eric Dolphy leader)
  • Live at Dreher Paris 1981
  • What It Is (1981)
  • Blues for Lady Day (1985)
  • After Hours (1994)
  • Two New (1995)

  Results from FactBites:
Mal Waldron :: with The Steve Lacy Quintet (367 words)
Mal Waldron :: with The Steve Lacy Quintet
Where Lacy has a fondness for fragments, riffs, anecdotal sequences and tone rows, Waldron sounds and resounds a tonal centre, crunches chords and scales in a spirit of tension and release (a big part of Miles' music), and stubbornly deliberates on the stillness that is in Lacy's constant winged flux.
Mal Waldron with The Steve Lacy Quintet is a recording of a place-space-time when two composers who became intertwined as musical brothers, finally got it together, and recorded this double sensibility approach to open-ended improvisation.
MAL WALDRON (1723 words)
Mal played on the "loft scene" in New York 1975/76, and during the late 7o's he re-entered the New York jazz scene - and the musical activity of the United States (Down Beat, April 81).
Mal Waldron has lived and played through successive transitions from bop and Billie Holiday to new fl music to free jazz and finally to his own free conversing music - in duos.
Waldron`s last release before his death was Riding a Zephyr, a collection of duets with singer Judi Silvano, for which he composed the music and she wrote accompanying lyrics.
  More results at FactBites »



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