Can you believe jazz in waltz time?
Robin Benson | 05/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
I bought the LP of this wonderful Max Roach set in the late Fifties (it was recorded in 1957) and fortunately I was able to replace it with an import CD in 1990 and I'm still playing it, too. As the sleeve notes reveal: Max Roach was less than enthusiastic when the EmArcy jazz boss Bob Shad suggested an album of jazz in waltz time but this CD confirms it is possible and it swings.
For this disc the six original LP tracks have an addition of 'Lover' in stereo. Sonny Rollins and Kenny Dorham play some wonderful improvisations but it is the piano of Bill Wallace that makes me play this CD over and over again, he is just brilliant. The excellent Ray Bryant replaces Wallace on the last track. 'The most beautiful girl in the world' which was recorded a year earlier. 'Valse Hot' is unusual because of its fourteen minutes length and everyone gets to do their bit, including a drum solo in three four time.
Now over fifty years old this jazz is still fresh, lively and swinging and still one of my favorite albums.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 12/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the time of its appearance, this album was considered somewhat revolutionary due to its all-waltz program. That's certainly neither a positive nor a negative after all of the triple-meter jazz material that would follow--from "All Blues" to "Waltz for Debby" to "Someday My Prince Will Come." What makes this essential listening is the masterful solo work, and not simply by Rollins.
Kenny Dorham doesn't try to replace the late Clifford Brown. Instead, he makes each of his turns, as usual, an adventure in melodic and rhythmic surprises, deliberately getting himself into trouble and always finding a way out. The enigmatic pianist, Billy Wallace, who made this one auspicious appearance on record then disappeared into various urban lounge scenes, is another reason for purchase--one of the few bebop pianists who is truly ambidextrous. On the opening "Blues Waltz" his solo sounds like Monk playing counterpoint with himself; on his remaining solo spots his interdependent melodies and rapid, coordinated left hand-right hand octaves are reminiscent of a Phineas Newborn or Oscar Peterson. It's the sort of playing that makes you wonder why so much of the work at this time was going to Kenny Drew and Sonny Clark, deserving as they were.
Besides the pop standards, Rollins' "Valse Hot" is a lovely composition, the 3/4 melodic equivalent of Clifford's "Joy Spring." He plays with fierce and ballsy, aria-like lyricism, though I would have loved to have heard at some time a tandem of Dorham and Rollins' predecessor, Harold Land.
Max has a couple of rather static solo spots, but there's little doubt that this is the best post-Clifford, Roach-led session on record."