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Myron Walden | Momentum – [Demi Sound Recordings, 2009]

Myron Walden - Momentum

Myron Walden was born in Miami, Florida on October 18, 1972, moving with his mother to the Bronx at age 12, and grew up listening to a wide range of rhythm and blues, blues, soul, and gospel music. Shortly after the move, as Myron’s uncle was listening to a recording of Charlie Parker’s ‘One Night in Washington,’ young Myron was profoundly moved by the music and, hearing the uncle exclaim “Tell it Bird!,” he immediately knew that music was his calling and that music would be his voice.

In some ways, his 2009-2010 trio of albums best reflects the way music made him feel at that early age. “When Brian Blade Fellowship was formed I was really inspired. Here was a jazz master who knew country, blues and early rock. Brian helped me realize the vast possibilities in music. My passion is too expansive to be limited to one style. I like to express myself and my emotions beyond the conventions of any one genre.” With new recordings, ‘Momentum‘, ‘In This World‘ and ‘Countryfied‘, Walden has created a body of work full of range and passion.

In 1996, Myron’s debut album, ‘Hypnosis,’ was released to great critical acclaim, followed in 1999 by ‘Like a Flower Seeking the Sun,’ both from NYC Records. In 2002, ‘Higher Ground‘ premiered, with ‘This Way’ appearing in 2005. The latter were released on Fresh Sound New Talent Records. Myron composed and arranged original music for all four recordings.

In 1997, Myron joined the Brian Blade Fellowship Band at its inception, and he continues to record and perform with the group today. Myron’s soulful, passionate solos on the alto saxophone and bass clarinet are frequently cited as moving and exciting parts of this ensemble’s performances and Brian has credited Myron’s voice as one of his inspirations for his compositions.

In 2003 Myron joined the late Ray Barretto’s band. With that band, Myron not only recorded and performed, but also composed and arranged. In fact, Barretto’s final GRAMMY-nominated album, ‘Time Was – Time Is,’ released in 2005, featured two of Myron’s compositions, including the title track. Myron served as the arranger for one of the tracks on that album that particularly moved both fans and critics, “Motherless Child.” In addition, in 1996 Myron joined as an original member of the New Jazz Composers Octet, for whom he continues to compose, record and perform today. The New Jazz Composers Octet featured Freddie Hubbard at the time of his passing.

Myron is also pursuing his musical journey as a leader with multiple projects. One feature of the newer projects is that he is playing predominantly the tenor saxophone. A few years ago the compositions Myron was beginning to write took on a deeper voice. Although Myron’s alto voice is very full, he committed to developing his tenor playing, to better serve the music. This allowed him to add a new voice to his rapidly developing compositions, and to diversify his sound with a refreshed voice that lends depths of feeling to his creative new music.

* There aren’t many musicians who have evaded the influence of Miles Davis. Myron Walden’s ‘Momentum’ is a quintet featuring Myron on tenor joined by trumpet on the front line, playing original compositions by Myron, inspired by the Miles Davis band of the 1960s. The music allows the band to create their own momentum, with insight and reference to Miles, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock, resulting in a quintet bristling with energy.

* ‘In This World’ reflects a very personal vision, creating music as a soundtrack for the richness of his life experience-expressing love, faith and ease. This quintet features Myron on tenor, soprano and bass clarinet. With the inclusion of acoustic and electric guitar the sound dimension is further expanded. Most of Myron’s music is full of energy featuring opposing entities, high-low, loud-soft, long- short, bass on a hemiola while drums play through and vice versa. ‘In This World’ has Walden’s trademark features but successfully expands his musical pallet, embracing the use of space and silence for a reflective and moving mood.

Countryfied‘ is a saxophone, organ and drum trio with a down home feeling, inspired by blues, rock and roll and the church music heritage of the south. The music has an exuberant roots vibe and more than a tinge of southern fried soul.

These projects have animated Walden’s muse and brought his music to a whole new level of feeling.

Myron Walden – ‘Momentum‘ – Liner Notes: by Melvin ButlerChicago, 2009

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve asked Myron Walden a ton of questions about his approach to improvisational music. Early on, he often gave no answer; and even when he did, he rarely did so right away. Rather than yield to my inquisitiveness, he let me infer from his silence that his music speaks for itself. Only gradually did he open up; and as I got to know him, I discovered that he chooses his friends and his notes very cautiously.

Perhaps this is because he pours so much of himself into both. He cares deeply about them. He caresses and challenges them; and he expends his creative energies on only those that are proven. Those who would truly know Myron Walden and the music that emanates from his soul must acquire that knowledge through patience. He is no run-of-the-mill saxophonist. He is no carbon copy. He is a man who works extremely hard to nourish that which is precious to him. It’s what he does. His friends and his notes get the special treatment.

Painfully attentive to the honing of his craft, Myron has become more fearless as a soloist, and more spatially generous as a composer and bandleader. He is increasingly sensitive to both the sounds and potential soundings all around him. This is what inspires me about Momentum. No one should be surprised that it features a line-up of brilliant musicians. Those familiar with Myron’s work have come to expect as much. What might catch you off guard is that every track features him on tenor saxophone–a daring departure from his trusty alto. Few horn players could pull this off. But Myron does just that, and I must say he does it with unusual aplomb. My friend’s distinct voice is ever recognizable through the urgency of his tone, the twists and turns of his harmonies, and the yearning quality of his melodic passages. And he keeps taking us higher.

It’s not simply that he has become more technically virtuosic over time. Since I’ve known him, his music has always reflected that coveted quality; and I suspect that Myron himself would remind us that it can be overrated by those who equate it with the shallow thrills and trills of saxophonic dexterity. And I wouldn’t necessarily say that his music has mellowed with age. It might very well appear that way at times; but such a cliché concerning the entirety of his oeuvre is imprecise. On several occasions, mostly on stage with Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, I have stood close enough to Myron to feel the Spirit that radiates from him when he reaches the zenith of a solo–close enough even to witness the genesis of ecstatic utterances that erupt from his heart. Rest assured, Myron Walden still brings his fire and his passion. With love and honesty, he speaks through his songs, and his Momentum carries all of us forward to witness the splendor of a flower that seeks the sun in a new season.

..:: Source: Shorefire.com ::..