The first time I heard Myron Walden, he was playing in a walk-in refrigerator at Smalls, the New York club that he and several of his contemporaries put on the map in the early 90s. Though he was alone, he was clocking lots of heat - in fact, the saxophonist practices with more passion than some artists bring to the bandstand.

The last time I saw Myron Walden, a huge audience at the Newport Jazz Festival was
giving him lots of house - applauding, whistling, whooping, the whole nine yards. Guess that practice paid off. At the front of the stage, being urged on by the other members of the Brian Blade's Fellowship Band, Walden leapt to the pulpit, and preached to the crowd with chorus after chorus of glorious gospel shouts. After a few minutes, everyone was on his wavelength.

That's the kind of reaction you get when you deal in vehemence. For the last 10 years Walden's brought a unique brand of ardor to the bandstand, and it's become a signature of sorts. The music on this live date by Momentum, one of his newest ensembles, is marked by a sizzling sincerity - the kind of emotion that puts listeners on the edge of their seats. Known initially as an alto player, during the last few years he's also added the tenor sax to his arsenal - it's revitalized his attack. The thoughtfully crafted lines of an experienced bandleader now contain the fiery attitude of a newcomer.

You can hear it as he bounces ideas off of his band mates. Here's a team dedicated to making sparks fly, to prioritizing interaction, to moving as one. Check the exclamation lining Of Three Worlds. Absorb the unity of Pulse. Whether floating through reflective passages or tearing the room apart, his quintet is zealous about all their maneuvers.

The live setting boosts this fervor. "Your appreciation drives us, inspires us," Walden tells the audience at one point. During a couple other moments, you can hear him goading and cheering his on-stage team, a la Charles Mingus. In a way, this date might be the most representative way to dig Walden's art. His studio stuff is definitely impressive, but a guy who writes songs about "the human heartbeat" should probably be heard interacting with his musicians and listeners simultaneously. There's something ineffable in the air here, and as usual when it comes to Myron, it's got a lot to do with spontaneity and gusto.

JIM MACNIE, Brooklyn, 2009

1. Journey 10:39
2. The Road Ahead 10:04
3. Announcements 1:45
4. Pulse 17:25
5. Announcements 0:21
6. Of Three Worlds 7:09
7. Miles 5:57
8. On the Clock 9:32

Myron Walden - tenor saxophone
Darren Barrett - trumpet
Eden Ladin - piano
Yasushi Nakamura - bass
John Davis - drums
Mixed and Mastered by Katsuhiko Naito

All compositions and arrangements
by Myron Walden.

In Appreciation Momentum Live is that essence of jazz the live performance where the audience and musicians together experience a moment of art and transcendence. That shared experience was captured on this recording, and I'm pleased to be able to share it further. A heartfelt thank you goes to the audience and also to the band - Darren Barrett, Eden Ladin, Yasushi Nakamura and John Davis. And, to my number one fan and love of a lifetime, thank you to my wife Amy.

Myron Walden, New York City, November 2009

Album design by
Photography by

©2009 Demi Sound Records. A Division of Nedlaw Enterprises. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

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