Cedar WaltonMobiusLP

Be With Records
BEWITH150LP
Due for release 19th of April 2024
 £ 25   £ 20.83 

Don't judge a book by its cover. Judge a record by its cover.

And, perhaps, its title.

Cedar Walton's Mobius is as outrageously, disorientatingly brilliant as the stunning jacket design, featuring the legendary jazz pianist morphing into a mobius strip, set against a beautiful sky filled with cumulus clouds. A proper jazz-funk fusion slapfest, Mobius is a stellar electric set from - essentially - one *hell* of a SUPERBAND.

Yes, in addition to Walton's Fender Rhodes wizardry, Mobius is elevated by Ryo Kawasaki's stinging electric guitar, pristinely clear vocals by Adrienne Albert and Lani Groves, rootsy percussion by Ray Mantilla and Omar Clay, alto and baritone from Charles Davis, trumpet from Roy Burrowes, Gordon Edwards on bass and Frank Foster's tenor sax. Oh and did we mention STEVE GADD ON DRUMS?!?!

Gem after gem of looping, bliss-inducing gold, it's an incredibly revelatory album. It presents a thrilling synthesis of R&B, funk, blues and hard bop (with a hint of rock), all driven by an idiosyncratic electronic keyboard.

 

Release Notes

Don't judge a book by its cover. Judge a record by its cover.

And, perhaps, its title.

Cedar Walton's Mobius is as outrageously, disorientatingly brilliant as the stunning jacket design, featuring the legendary jazz pianist morphing into a mobius strip, set against a beautiful sky filled with cumulus clouds. A proper jazz-funk fusion slapfest, Mobius is a stellar electric set from - essentially - one *hell* of a SUPERBAND.

Yes, in addition to Walton's Fender Rhodes wizardry, Mobius is elevated by Ryo Kawasaki's stinging electric guitar, pristinely clear vocals by Adrienne Albert and Lani Groves, rootsy percussion by Ray Mantilla and Omar Clay, alto and baritone from Charles Davis, trumpet from Roy Burrowes, Gordon Edwards on bass and Frank Foster's tenor sax. Oh and did we mention STEVE GADD ON DRUMS?!?!

Gem after gem of looping, bliss-inducing gold, it's an incredibly revelatory album. It presents a thrilling synthesis of R&B, funk, blues and hard bop (with a hint of rock), all driven by an idiosyncratic electronic keyboard. Walton, a giant in the jazz world, got quite the workout every time he played, from piano to arp synthesizer to clarinet to electric piano to mini-moog and back again.

Mobius was Cedar Walton's debut for RCA in 1975. The versatile artist confirmed his abilities as a player, composer, interpreter and arranger with this stunning record, and his own bright compositions offered a springboard for the improvisations of the different soloists. Coltrane's "Blue Trane" is the first classic to be given the funkafied Mobius treatment, Ryo Kawasaki let loose all over neck-snapping Gadd-drum gold before the horns take a fiery turn and subsequently give way to Cedar's virtuosity. A sparkling b-boy break version of Thelonious Monk's "Off Minor" (featuring an absolutely *fire* solo from Walton) really sets proceedings alight. Of the three original pieces, the shuffling, percussive power of "Soho" is just absolutely mind bending Latin-influenced jazzy soul whilst the mellow vibes of "The Maestro" bring elegant, sumptuous soul. And then there's the effortlessly funky "Road Island Red". Just too, too good.

Cedar Walton was born in Dallas, Texas, on January 17, 1934 and began his professional career in 1959 when he began touring for several years with the J.J. Johnson Quintet. He later joined the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet and then Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Pretty solid credentials, right? While based in New York City, Cedar played with such luminaries as Donald Byrd, Eddie Harris, Blue Mitchell, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Heath and Milt Jackson. Without question, he was one of the most complete and gifted musicians of his time and Mobius provides proof of that. The fresh, danceable tracks, all firmly rooted in the living tradition of blues and gospel, are skilfully presented by a master who enjoyed keeping abreast of contemporary tastes and was always keen to renew his language.

As the album notes state: “Mobius, which is the theoretical shape of the infinite universe, makes use of the most modern recording techniques and synthesizers. We mastered and mixed so that it’s hotter than the competition, which should help radio play and in-store demonstration.” Indeed. Mobius is really gorgeous mid-70s fusion, ranging from the funky to the ecstatic. It's an absolute MONSTER that will completely blow you away; and, yes, it's as wild and hypnotic as the cover. The audio for Mobius has been carefully remastered by Be With regular Simon Francis, ensuring it sounds better than ever. Cicely Balston's expert skills have made sure nothing is lost in the cut whilst the records have been pressed to the highest possible standard at Record Industry in Holland. The original, iconic sleeve has been restored here at Be With HQ as the finishing touch to this long overdue re-issue.