Cedar Walton Day

January 17, 1934 – August 19, 2013

A tribute to the masterful pianist

Pianist Anthony Cedar Walton Jr. was born on January 17, 1934 in Dallas, Texas.

His first piano teacher was his mother, he studied at the University of Denver and, after dropping out of school to move to New York, he was drafted into the Army.

Walton played jazz with top musicians while in the Army and, after his discharge in 1958, he worked with Kenny Dorham (with whom he made his recording debut), J.J. Johnson, Gigi Gryce, and the Jazztet, recording with many of the top hard bop players of the period.

Cedar Walton became well known as the pianist with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers during 1961-64.

After that period, he mostly led trios in addition to appearing with all-star groups in clubs and on recordings, displaying his own fresh approach to playing modern straight ahead jazz.

While he wrote many compositions in his long career, “Bolivia” remains the best known of his originals.

Cedar Walton is featured in Germany (at Jazz Fest Hamburg) on October 18, 1984 performing “Bolivia” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing” with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Mickey Roker.


Cedar Walton, piano
Milt Jackson, vibes
Ray Brown, bass
Mickey Roker, drums

-Scott Yanow


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