Mala Waldron – Always There

Always There
Mala Waldron
(Soulful Sound – 2006)
by Ray Redmond

Although I am new to Mala Waldron, after listening to this CD I must say that I am impressed. Her voice is strong and rich but at the same time very delicate, very moving. Her soulful delivery seems to capture all of the nuances of the 11 tracks, probably all the more so because she wrote and skillfully arranged ten of them.

Whispers in the Wind starts it off with Mala’s vocals amid the rolling guitars of Steve Salerno, who also has a HOT solo in the very bluesy title track. In addition to singing Ms.Waldron also grooves on the electric piano; check out her solos on Whispers in the Wind and Too Good for Words. Mala even gets in a little scatting on the high-energy samba Ellie which also features a round of solos from the band and a driving drum solo by Michael “T.A.” Thompson.

The only cover on the entire release is an explosive arrangement of “Light My Fire.” The closer, Maybe It’s Not So, starts slow but soon transforms into this Latin-funky track reminiscent of some old Randy Crawford tunes. This track is held together by the ever-present and jamming bass work of Miriam Sullivan, who carries the bottom throughout this CD with a jazzy combination of zest and funk.

Mala Waldron has inherited at least some of her composing talent from her jazz pianist/composer dad, Mal Waldron, most well known as Billie Holiday’s last accompanist and for composing Soul Eyes first recorded by John Coltrane.

After having released two CDs in Japan, Mala Waldron feels as if she’s starting over with “Always There” as her first indie release. We hope that she keeps it up and continues to grow. This is a great CD from a promising, multi-talented young artist.