Youth continues to be served by the jazz record marketplace as NYC introduces its entrant, a native New York alto saxophonist, 24 years of age, striving to be fresh. This quest is displayed most notably by the program of eight original Walden compositions. On his horn, Walden displays a nice cry in his tone that serves him well, with an urgency that is more cerebral than visceral. His attractive tone is best displayed on "As The Sun Peaks," a fine composition that given further exposure could enter the modern real book currently in production.
The title track is another gem: a veiled bit of misterioso that shows Walden in evolution as a composer. While presenting a program comprised totally of original tunes is seductive to young artists, Walden has frankly committed a cardinal sin for a debut artist. The wise course dictates that one never deliver a program comprised entirely of standards in this age of conservatism, unless one's career is accompanied by enormous advance buzz. When you render a program of all originals as your debut you're not giving radio programmers enough to hang their hats on. Being under constant product barrage, radio programmers generally gravitate toward recognizable tunes first, and if the record is compelling enough the standards will have their turns at bat. The same often holds true for your basic, non-adventurous consumer. The best approach is that even if it is drastically re-worked, a familiar piece or three are always advisable for the mix.
That said, this is a thinking man's record, issued to a world lacking many true thinkers. And much of Walden's writing is of an impressionistic bent, perhaps serving to further blunt the impact of his largely attractive opening date. One thing's for certain: Myron Walden is clearly no one-record wonder; so stay tuned. - Willard Jenkins