SAXOPHONIST AND COMPOSER WALTER SMITH III MAKES HIS BLUE NOTE DEBUT WITH APRIL 7 RELEASE OF return to casual FEATURING TAYLOR EIGSTI, MATT STEVENS, HARISH RAGHAVAN & KENDRICK SCOTT
Saxophonist and composer Walter Smith III has signed with Blue Note Records and enters a new era of his band leading career with the April 7 release of his remarkable label debut return to casual, the long-anticipated follow-up to his self-released 2014 recording still casual. Reprising their bandmate roles, pianist Taylor Eigsti, guitarist Matt Stevens, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Kendrick Scott reveal a seasoned depth of dimension alongside featured guest appearances by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and pianist James Francies. return to casual is available for pre-order now on Blue Note Store exclusive color vinyl, black vinyl, CD, or digital download. Listen to the lead single “Contra.”
Smith also makes his debut as a leader at the Village Vanguard tonight when he opens a week-long engagement at the venerable New York City jazz club where he and his quintet will be previewing material from the new album from February 7-12. Tickets are available at villagevanguard.com.
Dedicated to collaborative work with some of the music’s most influential voices — including Akinmusire, Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Jason Moran, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Herbie Hancock, Maria Schneider, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Dee Dee Bridgewater — Smith has crafted a distinct style, personal vocabulary, and compositional approach that serves the individuality of his fellow artists. For the past several years, he has been co-leading the acclaimed In Common project with Stevens, exploring and refining different conceptual approaches to writing.
In releasing return to casual, on which he also serves as producer, Smith unveils the many ways his creative expression has expanded, and the influence these collaborative environments have had on his vision as a leader. The album casts a shifting mood across nine original works (and one new arrangement) all composed within weeks of each other. return to casual opens with humor and virtuosity on “Contra,” an homage to Smith’s childhood. Using the iconic video game’s tester code, up up down down left right left right B A B A start, he sequences a melodic thread through the song.
Through return to casual, Smith renews his identity as a band leader, bringing with him an expansive, resonant artistry and a cooperative vision for his original works.
The track listing for return to casual is as follows:
- Contra (Walter Smith III)
- River Styx (Smith)
- Pup – Pow (Smith)
- Shine (Smith)
- Mother Stands for Comfort (Kate Bush)
- quiet song (Smith)
- lamplight (Smith)
- Amelia Earhart Ghosted Me (Smith)
- K8 + BYU$ (Smith)
- REVIVE (Smith)