JAZZ IS A PERSONAL REFLECTION OF LIFE
“In the past, we played harmonies with practised phrases that jazz musicians called “licks” - but today, fortunately, we don’t play licks any more, and play beyond and across harmonies… Younger musicians who continue to produce licks have not realized, that jazz is very personal music. They just play what is required of them today, go along with the trend and compromise the music!” Mal said to Thomas Fitterling at an interview done for his seventieth birthday.
Mal Waldron balks at populist compromises of every sort, so that the stringency of his lyricism demands ever more space in his musical creation. To be aware of what is not acceptable, one has to become increasingly strict, exceedingly wary of the inflationary trend of the cult scene. Here the old grey wolf gives the impression of being like a very slowly growing tree…like the Teak, the king of noble woods…
Therefore Mal Waldron’s performances are seldom euphoric events of total identification - they go deeper; those who understand his music turn homewards quiet and impressed, with the sure feeling, that this happening will continue to work within them for a long time. The present album may be assessed as a reflection of such a happening. In an era of ‘cult albums’ and ‘mega sellers’, superlatives have been worn threadbare long ago. Let it be for that reason - an album like Mal, Verve, Black & Blue has scarcity value. It’s not a sensation, not a spectacle - but just simply an intense experience.