Walter Smith III - Still Casual
Cat. no: WR4775LP
Release Date: 20 Aug 2021
When Walter Smith III released his fourth solo album ‘Still Casual’ in 2014, people listened, and the album was heralded as one of the top releases of the year.
Now, fans of the saxophonist and composer can experience the tenorist’s wideranging release on vinyl for the first time on this special 2xLP, 180 gram limited edition pressing with gatefold artwork.
Smith’s discography is pleasingly joined-up. As ‘In Common 2’ follows ‘In Common’, ‘Still Casual’ references his 2006 solo debut ‘Casually Introducing’. The title might be another one of Smith’s trademark riffs, but the album is as committed to exploration as any other. Over the course of ten original tracks, Smith covers a swathe of musical and emotional ground.
The players assembled for ‘Still Casual’ speak volumes for the quality of Smith’s company. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire joins Smith for explosive soloing on ‘Fing Fast’ and ‘Something New’. In Common co-convenor Matthew Stevens provides reflective harmonic support and muted solo colours alongside the understated backings of Taylor Eigsti. Together, Harish Raghavan and Kendrick Scott provide moments of tension and intrigue from the backline, adding suitable punch to the opener ‘Foretold You’.
Chronologically, the album precedes the In Common projects, and comes right as Smith hits his stride as a composer and arranger. From the elaborate (‘About 360’, ‘Processional’) to the personal (‘Greene’ is dedicated to saxophonist Jimmy Greene, whose daughter was killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings in 2012), Smith shines across fast-flowing vernacular and reflective, tender tones.
Still Casual showcases a group stretching themselves in a way that never seems hurried, delving into a powerful collective energy to test their limits instead.
LP 1: Foretold You / Kaleidoscope / Apollo / Fing Fast / Greene / Something New
LP 2: Processional / July / About 360 / Goodnight Now
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