FROM “RECORD TIME: NEW & NOTABLE VINYL RELEASES”
“Frank D. Waldron isn’t a name that’s likely terribly well known outside of folks with a deep knowledge of early jazz or the history of the music scene of the Northwestern U.S. But for those in the know, the late multi-instrumentalist and teacher (one of his students was future legend Quincy Jones) from Seattle looms large. Waldron worked regularly around Washington and Canada playing and writing New Orleans-style jazz that swings and promenades, as well as publishing a songbook that included several original compositions intended to be a teaching tool for young players.
His legacy is getting a helping hand in 2018 thanks to the efforts of Greg Ruby, a guitarist who leads a hot jazz outfit called the Rhythm Runners. With funding from arts organization 4 Culture, he is releasing a new folio of Waldron’s Syncopated Classic as well as a recording of 11 of the composer’s little-heard tunes. The LP is an entirely laidback affair, but filled with life and an abundance of spirit. Ruby and his group have such an understanding of these compositions, highlighting their roots in European folk traditions and letting them sway and saunter as needed. It’s also a showcase for these very adept players, especially Ruby, clarinetist Dennis Lightman and guest Mike Marshall, whose mandolin work on some of the ballads is nothing short of captivating.