Walter White is most triumphant with his Summit debut, an impressive start!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Walter White may not be a household name yet he has probably visited you on the small screen on numerous occasions having worked on shows such as Taxi and The Cosby Show. White is one of those rare renaissance men of jazz. Records, movies and television along with working ensembles both large and small finds White covering a large area of harmonic ground all while finding time to grow his reputation as a respected educator. Most Triumphant is the Summit debut for White. A release that features solid originals and exciting arrangements from both the standard jazz and classical literature.
Perhaps the experience of touring with the legendary Maynard Ferguson is to account for the clean, rich yet piercing attack of White. "Spring Ahead" is an exciting original embracing a buoyant passion and lyrical sense of urgency that grabs the attention from the opening bell. Debut releases always contain a standard or two and why not? Standard are a nice, safe and easy way to introduce yourself to an audience. "Indiana" is given a dialed down blues infused vamp with just enough swing to make it totally fresh. A masterful arrangement. "Ballad No.1" is an exquisite melancholy ballad with a classical undertow. One does not often hear improvisational ballads laid out in such a fashion.
Walter White is a master technician but it is within the technique that a lyrical painter emerges. The band is tight and it would be easy to split hairs and say more cohesion within the ensemble would be a welcome thing but hypercritical is not how I roll. No harm done here.
Tracks: Spring Ahead; W.E.B.S.; Indiana; Most Triumphant; Joy; Ballad No. 1; The Beehive; Walt's Waltz; Bye, Bye, Blackbird; Prelude In E Minor Opus 28 No. 4
Personnel: Walter White: Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Gary Schunk; Miles Brown: Acoustic Bass; Sean Dobbins: Drums.