Mal Waldron

Malcolm Earl Waldron ( born August 16, 1925 in New York City, New York, † 2 December 2002 in Brussels, Belgium) was an American pianist of modern jazz who lived in Europe from 1965.


After studying classical piano playing and a bachelor's degree in composition at Queens College, he began with jazz. Originally alto saxophonist, he moved to the piano, as it were the pianists of his surroundings too bad. His piano playing is unmistakable by the repetitive percussive pattern.

From 1950 to 1953 he was a member of the band of Ike Quebec. From 1954 to 1957 he played mainly with Charles Mingus ( Pithecanthropus Erectus ), but also with Teo Macero and Teddy Charles. As the house pianist of Prestige Records, he worked with John Coltrane, Gene Ammons, Jackie McLean and Kenny Burrell. 1958/1959 he accompanied the singer Billie Holiday ( among others in Europe). This collaboration reflects after death Holidays resist his plate Left Alone ( with Jackie McLean ), which ultimately gave him great recognition in Japan. The following years he made acclaimed recordings with Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach (percussion Bittersweet ) and with Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin. Due to the strong economic pressure, the jazz musicians were exposed during this time often, he suffered a severe nervous breakdown in 1963. After a year in the hospital, he had to relearn much of his piano playing again.

From 1965 he lived in Europe. From 1967 to the 1990s he lived in Munich, after which he moved to Brussels. From the 1970s, he became very well known especially in Japan, but also in Europe. Since the 1980s, he appeared regularly again in the United States. In the last 30 years he played with, inter alia, Jim Pepper, Chico Freeman, Marion Brown, Jeanne Lee, Steve Lacy, embryo, Manfred Schoof, David Friesen, Archie Shepp and David Murray. Particularly noteworthy is his collaboration with the soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. They met for the first time in 1958 to record pieces by Thelonious Monk. From the 1970s they worked together intensively and published numerous duet recordings.

Waldron Duoplatte with Judi Silvano contains entitled Mal Waldron a touching music history Findings of the singer. The pianist Mala Waldron is his daughter. 2002 Waldron died of cancer.


Mal Waldron is due, inter alia, the merit of having recorded with 1969 Free at Last, the very first publication of the renowned label ECM; he was accompanied by bassist Isla Eckinger and drummer Clarence Becton. It was his only album with this label.

Publications (selection)

  • Do not Explain by Billie Holiday ( 1956)
  • Time / 2 of Mal Waldron (1957 )
  • Steve Lacy Plays Thelonious Monk by Steve Lacy with Buell Neidlinger and Elvin Jones ( 1958)
  • Left Alone by Mal Waldron (1959 )
  • Blues & Roots by Charles Mingus (1960 )
  • The Quest by Mal Waldron (1961 )
  • All Alone - Live in Tokyo by Mal Waldron (1971 )
  • The Call of Mal Waldron with Jimmy Jackson, Eberhard Weber, Fred Braceful (1971 )
  • A Little Bit Of Miles by Mal Waldron with Pierre Courbois and Henk Haverhoek (1972 )
  • Hard Talk by Mal Waldron (1974 )
  • Moods by Mal Waldron (1978 )
  • In Retrospect by Mal Waldron (1982 )
  • With time. Sumiko Yoseyama meets Mal Waldron Sumiko Yoseyama (1983 )
  • Dedication by Mal Waldron, David Friesen (1985 )
  • Songs of Love and Regret by Mal Waldron, Marion Brown ( 1985)
  • Left Alone '86 by Mal Waldron (1986 )
  • Time, Dance and Soul by Mal Waldron (1987 )
  • For you only Tom Mega (1987 )
  • Evidence of Mal Waldron (1988 )
  • Flakes of Mal Waldron, Tiziana Simona, Enrico Rava, Steve Lacy (1988 )
  • Much More of Mal Waldron, Marion Brown ( 1988)
  • Duo - quartet - solo by Mal Waldron, Christian Burchard (1989 ) (also known as Into the Light )
  • Where are you? by Mal Waldron (1989 )
  • Crowd Scene by Mal Waldron (1989 )
  • Up and Down by Mal Waldron, Chico Freeman (1989 )
  • Hot House by Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy (1990 )
  • After-hours, Mal Waldron and Jeanne Lee ( 1994)
  • The Big castling with Nicolas Simion (1995 )
  • Soul Eyes by Mal Waldron with, inter alia, Jeanne Lee and Abbey Lincoln ( 1997)
  • Left Alone Revisited by Mal Waldron and Archie Shepp (2002)
  • Riding A Zephyr by Judi Silvano and Mal Waldron (2003)