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The Cedar Walton Quartet LIVE at Dizzy’s!

August 11, 2012

Cedar Walton is a hard bop pianist who grew up in Dallas, Texas. His mother was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton’s initial teacher. She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas. As a result, he was exposed to a wide range of jazz, including Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Mary Lou Williams, Earl Hines, Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Lester Young and Dizzy Gillespie. Walton cites Nat King Cole, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum as his major influences on piano. He began emulating recordings of these artists from an early age, and also began composing “hieroglyphics” for friends to play along with him.

While on family vacation as a teen his family visited the University of Denver, which surprised and attracted Walton because the “dormitories were coed.” He ended up attending the University of Denver as a composition major originally, but was encouraged to switch to a music education program targeted to set up a career in the local public school system. This switch later proved extremely useful since Walton learned to play and arrange for various instruments, a talent he would hone with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

You can experience the wonderful world of Cedar Walton thru Sunday the 12th, along with David Williams on bass and Willie Jones III on drums tonight at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center. See you later!

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