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Cedar Walton Dies at 79

Good taste and elegant power defined veteran pianist's style

Cedar Walton Quartet, - Art of Jazz Series, Albright - Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, February 28, 2010

Cedar Walton, a pianist whose good taste and straightforward elegance as an improviser complemented his considerable strengths as a small-combo arranger and melodic composer, died today at his home in Brooklyn. The death was confirmed by producer and concert presenter Todd Barkan, a longtime friend. Walton was 79. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Walton was something of an institution on the New York club scene, and his imposing CV included time with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the ’60s, when the band also included Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard, as well as alternate-take recordings of “Giant Steps” and “Naima” with John Coltrane. Among his best-loved and most enduring compositions is “Bolivia.” He was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts for 2010.

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