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Myron Walden

2019-07-20
Showtime: 12:30AM
Doors Open at 12:00AM

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Myron Walden
FEATURING:
Myron Walden - tenor, alto & soprano saxophones
Shedrick Mitchell & Taber Gable - keys
Julian Litwack - guitar
Richie Goods - electric bass
Jonathan Barber - drums

Myron Walden is a gifted multi-instrumentalist, lauded for the rich earnestness of his sound and clarity of tone and his distinctly impassioned stage presence. Myron, who first specialized on the alto saxophone and the rarely heard bass clarinet, has added the tenor saxophone to his musical arsenal. He is a leader of an expanding number of musical projects, reflecting the varied aspects of a growing musical identity. He is an in-demand sideman, a founding member of Brian Blade’s Fellowship Band and a regular band member of the ensembles of such jazz legends as the late Ray Barretto and Freddie Hubbard. He is a prodigious composer working in a wide variety of styles and moods (his oft-recorded “Like a Flower Seeking the Sun” is but one example of an inventive spirit whose melodies have been recorded by the likes of Ravi Coltrane, Antoine Roney, Winard Harper, Vincent Herring, Carl Allen and Ray Barretto.)

Yet if one aspect of Walden’s kaleidoscopic musical identity could define him, it would be a driving, restless spirit – one that drives him to widen his experience, to dig deeper into himself, to challenge himself to find that certain truth that lies at the heart of any musical endeavor. He is a musician who bristles at categorical fences and cannot stand still, stylistically or even onstage. Mid-performance, he is prone to spontaneous dance moves, and often will emit excited yelps of delight mid-solo.

In Walden’s world, jazz is a journey that covers a vast landscape of possibilities. Proving his point, Walden released no less than five albums on his own Demi Sound label between 2009 and 2010, an outpouring of recordings that are all parts of an exciting, expansive musical vision, and reveal his determined approach to his own career.

There’s Myron Walden Momentum, Walden’s foray into soulful hard-bop inspired by Miles Davis’s legendary mid-1960s quintet. Walden’s fiery quintet (his tenor is accompanied on the front line by trumpet and supported by keyboards, bass and drums) released a self titled studio CD, 'Momentum', and a companion live album, 'Momentum Live' in late 2009.

There’s the more introspective, and more acoustic Myron Walden In This World. With this band Myron plays tenor and soprano saxophones and bass clarinet. In This World’s first two albums, 'To Feel' and 'What We Share' (released in early 2010) are a double-valentine to his wife Amy.

And then there’s Myron Walden Countryfied, the down home Southern roots blues and soul project, with Walden on tenor and featuring electric guitar, organ and drums. The group’s inaugural, self titled album 'Countryfied' was released in mid-2010 and marks Walden’s first non-jazz release.

For those who are counting, Walden’s career tally so far is: 11 albums recorded as a leader, sideman credit on more than 30 recordings, and countless performances that have brought down the house and elicited warm critical response.

Nat Hentoff, writing for the Wall Street Journal, said “"Myron Walden...is simultaneously the most insistently personal and instantly accessible musician of his generation. Within his own compositions he tells stories.” Nat also described himself as “having been deeply drawn into Mr. Walden’s music”.

Jazz Times spoke to Walden’s signature style: "Listening to saxophonist Myron Walden is like watching Daedalus fly too close to the sun—it’s exhilarating to see him glide past chord changes and conventional jazz structures, but there’s the constant fear that if he goes any higher, his wings will melt. Somehow, that never happens" and noted that Walden "plays with a Phoenix-like virtuosity and an attention to rhythmic detail rarely heard among saxophone players”.

The Wall Street Journal also commented on Walden’s distinctive brand of commitment “Mr. Walden is one of our more primal and emotional players—on any instrument. He brings the raw intensity of a Mississippi bluesman to modern jazz.”

With as broad and exciting a musical vision as Walden has already realized, and judging by the creative momentum he has recently established, the future appears to hold no bounds. Walden sees things first and foremost on a spiritual level. “My passion is too expansive to be limited to one style,” he says. “I like to express myself and my emotions beyond the conventions of any one genre, and when I play a solo, I want it to be so relatable, you’ll want to sing it back to me.”

 

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