During the Fifties and Sixties, Mal Waldron was an important member of the Prestige recording family: first as a pianist and arranger for many of the innumerable blowing dates; later as a pianist/group leader and composer/arranger on his own dates. That three of the musicians on this session--Waldron, Dolphy, and Booker Ervin--were at one time associated with Charles Mingus (not necessarily at the same time) is significant. Also, Waldron and Dolphy had been together in the quintet with Booker Little, Richard Davis, and Ed Blackwell that recorded in July 1961 live at the Five Spot. That album--The Great Concert of Eric Dolphy (Prestige 34002)--contains the first version of Waldron’s “Fire Waltz,” a piece done here. For the reeds (Dolphy is heard on clarinet on “Canto”), the cello of Ron Carter, and Waldron’s diverse, adventurous writing, this album offers much musical food for thought.
with Booker Ervin, Ron Carter, Joe Benjamin, Charlie Persip