I always told myself I’d go see Cedar Walton, the great pianist who held court several times a year in jazz clubs throughout the city, most often at the Village Vanguard, that hallowed if claustrophobic room wedged into a basement in the West Village.
But this July, when I passed up an opportunity to see the man who played with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the early 1960s and went on to have one of the most notable solo careers in jazz, I lost my chance for good, as did everyone else who’s never seen him. He died on Monday, at 79.
While Mr. Walton’s death didn’t come as a complete surprise, it felt especially acute in light of a number of recent deaths in the jazz world. George Duke, a fine and influential keyboardist, died just two weeks ago, at 67, and on Sunday, we lost the 97-year-old Albert Murray, an esteemed jazz critic who, along with Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis, helped found Jazz at Lincoln Center. Read More