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Cedar Walton Featuring Freddie Hubbard: Live at the Keystone Korner: Reliving the Moment

The “moment” in question occurred in late 1977; the event was the Rahsaan Roland Kirk Memorial Jazz Festival at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner. The Cedar Walton Quartet, co-headlining with Leon Thomas and Bobby Hutcherson, were joined by Walton’s old Jazz Messengers compatriot Freddie Hubbard, returning to a straight-ahead context in the wake of the trumpeter’s controversial plunge into jazz-funk fusion.

Judging by what’s here, these were three nights of hard-charging swing and unfettered creativity. Walton’s piano lines, complex and multi-textured yet resolutely straight-ahead, are powered by a percussive impetus that both complements and goads drummer Billy Higgins’ dexterous punctuations; when tenorman Bob Berg weighs in with his astringent tone and Trane-like roils and flurries, he brings a bracing element of rawness and emotive unpredictability into the mix.

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