Mala Waldron
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Mala Waldron

Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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" Review"

Just like the Marsalis name in jazz, the Waldron name commands consideration in the area of viable jazz families who have made their mark. I must say that jazz pianist-composer Mal Waldron's daughter is a great example of how well the gene pool works in sustaining the musical quality output of a talented musical family. Mala Waldron is one such exponent of what I describe above! Her lovely & recent effort is an amalgam of fine originals which can only be described as 'now,' or 'contemporary,' .......Crossing over into several musical schools, i.e........'Mainstream'.....'Smooth'......'Adult Contemporary' et al. Mala's vocalise smiles back at you poignantly, and she's her own singer as she seems to interpret the vocal tradition in her singular & unique style of rendition. Might I suggest that Mala seems to offer a great deal of thought in her musical offerings, presentation & choice of programme. She's a keeper!

George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman

- George W. Carroll

" Review"

Music certainly runs in Mala Waldron’s family. Her dad was jazz pianist/composer Mal Waldron and Mala had the opportunity to play and record with her father. In 1995 while touring Japan Mala and her father Mal recorded an album entitled He’s My Father. Later Mala released her debut solo release, Lullabye. Both records were only released in Japan which makes Always There Mala’s first independent release in her home country USA.
Mala’s music has a pleasant warm and organic sound that combines the best of the soul and jazz world. Early records by Roberta Flack spring to mind or Vivienne McKone if you have to have a comparison. All songs except one were written and arranged by Mala. Some of the songs were written back in the mid 90s, some a few years ago so that Always There is like a Best Of of the Mala Waldron songbook.
Mala recorded Always There with a bunch of talented musicians she met over the years like bassist Miriam Sullivan, Steve Salerno (guitars) and Michael “T.A.” Thompson (drums, percussion).
The album starts with the soulful Whispers In The Wind, a great midtempo soul/jazz tune with fine keyboard playing by Mala. It may be hard to beat such a highlight but Because Of You shows no backlash. This beautiful midtempo soul song is about a new love that provides you with new energy and lets you see the world in a brighter light…ah, we all know this feeling and wish it may last forever.
Mala continue to deliver the good stuff with the album’s title track Always There, which is not a cover of the famous song by Ronnie Laws but an original composition by Mala. Always There is a slow, bluesy song that sees Mala pleading to a higher power to find “that the light still shines in this heart of mine“.
The delightful Too Good For Words provides a welcome change of pace. This swinging jazz song features some fine scatting by Mala.
Three of the songs are dedicated to Mala’s family members. The mellow, retrospective I Do Remember You is dedicated to her grandmother Mardi, while Ellie, an uptempo song with a scatting tour de force by Mala, is devoted to her mother. The heartfelt Proud Lion, finally, is her tribute to her father.
Add to this other highlights like the soulful Why (When I Say Goodbye), Can’t Stop Thinking About You or Mala’s inspiring rendition of The Door’s Light My Fire and you have a highly recommendable album full of quality soul and jazz tunes.

Dirk Binsau - Dirk Binsau

" CD Review"

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.
- Ray Redmond

" - Always There"

The daughter of jazz piano great Mal Waldron rests on her own laurels with this delightful recording. Here, keyboardist/vocalist Mala Waldron fuses soul, funk and jazz during this studio date consisting of memorably melodic originals sans Jose Feliciano's "Light My Fire." It's a hybrid acoustic-electric set, amid some spunky moments, along with guitarist Steve Salerno's jazz-fusion style guitar licks. Nonetheless, Ms. Waldron successfully bridges that fine line between serious instrumental fare and pop-like viability. She overlays vocal choruses while injecting scat and soul-soaked lyricism into the overall proceedings. But, it's a democratic endeavor, where the soloists' receive ample stretching room.

Through blustery swing vamps, and dabs of classic Motown, Waldron's expressive diction and whispery delivery plays a prominent role. The band covers dreamy blues motifs and Latin rhythms, firmly entrenched within a groove oriented palate. On the catchy piece titled "Can't Stop Thinking About You," Salerno's sleek, and jazzy chord voicings accelerate a brisk swing vamp to coincide with Waldron's breezy but undeniably, zealous vocalizations. Topped off with sprightly ballads and other frameworks, this album rises a notch or two above the norm, especially when considering the seemingly endless flow of female jazz/pop vocalists cropping up these days. (Not to be overlooked...)

- Glenn Asterita

"Indie Round-up - Mala Waldron "Always There""

Mala Waldron, Always There

Mala Waldron's cool, sophisticated work is just the sort of thing that could nudge jazz closer to the mainstream. With hummable melodies, grown-up but accessible chord changes, and a weave of smooth R&B flavor (especially in songs like the ballad "Because Of You" and the up-tempo "Maybe It's Not So"), some of these tracks should by all rights find a home anywhere that plays the lightweight likes of Alicia Keys. Yet even the smoothest of these tracks, though eminently CD-101-worthy, are real jazz.

That, and Waldron's superior keyboard skills, should be no surprise considering she's the daughter of jazz legend Mal Waldron. One of the elder Waldron's claims to fame was his association with Billie Holliday, and Waldron fille is a supple, fanciful singer who makes everything sound easy. Jazz vocals generally aren't my favorite corner of the music universe, but Waldron's are dead-on in tune, pleasingly shaded, easygoing, neither cloying nor precious.

Waldron wrote all the tracks except one, and it's clear she has a finely calibrated sense of what kind of material is ideal for her voice, although one gets the feeling she could credibly sing, and certainly play, almost anything. Even the fluffy lyrics aren't bad — and "not bad" is pretty damn good for jazz lyrics. Finally, her imaginative, funky version of The Doors' "Light My Fire" demonstrates her ability to make unexpected material her own. If I had to pick a favorite track, it would be the impassioned ballad "Proud Lion," which Waldron dedicates to her father. "Proud Lion/think he knew deep inside/that I never did like/long goodbyes." Nothing lightweight about that.

Being such a knockout on both piano and vocals, it's only fitting Waldron should have ace musicians backing her up, and bassist Miriam Sullivan, guitarist Steve Salerno and drummer Michael "T.A" Thompson are every bit her match. In fact one of the CD's best points is the organic sound of the band, as if they'd played together for a million years.

Available at CD Baby here.

Mala Waldron appears at the Jazz Standard in New York City on March 27 for her official CD release, and at Night and Day in Brooklyn NY on June 8 as part of the Soul of the Blues series.


"All About Jazz - Review by Ernest Barteldes"

When you hear Mala Waldron's soulful voice on Always There, you realize that you are experiencing something very special, for Waldron is not only an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, but also a fine pianist who hits the keys with great precision, bringing various musical influences into the jazz realm.

On the romantic ”Because of You,” which speaks of the happiness that Waldron has encountered with a special someone, bassist Miriam Sullivan performs a beautiful solo halfway through and also provides a backbone when the tune drifts into more of a light reggae mode.

The title track goes into more soul/gospel territory as the singer shows uncertainty in her life, pleading for guidance from God, who is “always there.” This time around, veteran guitarist Steve Salerno shows his chops, delivering a highly technical but also heartfelt solo. His riffs throughout the tune are the perfect backdrop for Waldron's sad lament.

The group delivers the album's only cover, The Doors' “Light My Fire,” with a funky feel that goes into a more playful mode—Salerno's guitar sounds freer than in the other tracks, and even Waldron sounds more relaxed as she is relieved from carrying one of her own compositions. This is definitely a fun track to hear, and it does justice to the original.

Another welcome surprise is “Too Good For Words,” a mostly instrumental piece which begins with an R&B feel but then quickly mutates into a modern jazz tune, giving a chance for Waldron to show her keyboard and scat skills. Kudos also for Steve Salerno, who performs a twisting guitar solo halfway through.

Listen also to “I Do Remember You,” an acoustic tip of the hat to Jobim with a bossa nova groove. Drummer Michael “T.A.” Thompson channels not only Dom-Um Romao (with some assistance from Jim Clouse) but also does his own take on Jobim with his subtle backing vocals.
- All About Jazz

"Always There - Dusty Groove"

Mala Waldron -- Always There . . . CD . . . $13.99 (Item: 417306)
Soulful Sound, 2006 Condition: New Copy View Cart
A wonderful domestic debut from Mala Waldron -- the daughter of pianist Mal Waldron, but also an incredible artist on her own! The record's got a depth and sense of soul that goes way beyond most contemporary sets of this type -- possibly in part because Mala also plays piano on the record, and brings a bit of jazz inflection to the album -- while still keeping the overall sound solidly soul. Most of the tracks here are original numbers with a great set of righteous themes -- powerful, positive tunes that have a maturity that we really love, and which are supported strongly by the small combo instrumentation of the group. Definitely a soul record, but one that's put together with a strong jazz undercurrent too -- almost in the mode of some of Carmen Lundy's best work, and the kind of set that should get Mala big notice over the next few years! Titles include "I Do Remember You", "Always There", "Whispers In The Wind", "Proud Lion", "Can't Stop Thinking About You", "Maybe It's Not So", and "Too Good For Words".
- Dusty Groove America

"Ear Candy Column by Guy-Michael Grande"

A musical force of nature, songstress Mala Waldron can literally change a room's temperature. In California at last year's TAXI Road Rally, onstage at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, her soulful performance of sultry slow burner "Always There" completely swept the attention of our music industry audience and blew us all away. Fortunately for those who missed her stunning set, the NY-based Waldron has just released Always There, her debut filled with jazzy soul music that swings. While aficionados know her as pianist Mal Waldron's daughter, Mala makes her own distinct musical impression with feverish samba "Ellie," groove-laden "Whispers in the Wind," and inspired, funk-fueled take on Doors classic "Light My Fire." Her voice richly compelling even when singing lyrics as delicately evaporative as ether -- think Anita Baker meets Nina Simone, if you must -- Waldron's fourth track aptly describes this collection: "Too Good For Words."

- Hartford Chronicle


2006 -- "Always There" - Mala Waldron (Soulful Sound Music)

additional audio clips available on:

2006 -- "Timelessness Frozen in Time" - Barbara Sfraga & CSQ (SyncTimiCity Records)

2003 -- "Lullabye" - Mala Waldron (3361BLACK/Maturity re-issue)

2003 -- "He's My Father" - Mal Waldron (3361BLACK/Maturity re-issue)

1996 -- "Lullabye" - Mala Waldron (Tokuma Communications/Japan)

1996 -- "He's My Father" - Mal Waldron & Mala Waldron (Tokuma Communications/Japan)

1991 -- "Today's Move" - James Jabbo Ware and The Me We & Them Orchestra (Y'all Records)



Vocalist, pianist and songwriter Mala Waldron has been performing professionally since she was 15 yrs. old, when she joined a local R&B band. Within a year, the band was signed to RCA records with the release of a single "Take a Little Love." She went on to expand her musical knowledge studying jazz piano, voice and composition at SUNY College of Old Westbury with Makanda Ken McIntyre. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Mala's recordings as a featured artist include "He's My Father," a duo with her father, jazz pianist/composer, Mal Waldron, and "Lullabye," her solo debut (both on Tokuma Communications/Japan; re-issues on 3361Black, Maturity). Her most recent CD, "Always There" is her first domestic release and was launched with a sold out concert event at NYC's Jazz Standard. The CD has since been licensed by Columbia Records and will be released in Japan in the fall. Some of the notable artists Mala has had the pleasure of working with include Andy Bey, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Don Braden, Jeanne Lee, Charli Persip, Cecil McBee, George Cables, James Williams, Billy Drummond, Victor Lewis, Melvin Sparks, Hilton Ruiz, John Betsch, James "Jabbo" Ware ME WE & THEM Orchestra, Andrei Strobert, Warren Smith and violinist, Naoko Terai.

Mala has toured in Japan, France, Belgium and the U.S. and is currently planning a tour of Asia (including stops in Taiwan, China & Malaysia) sponsored by HENNESSY-MOET. She was a featured artist in the 2006 Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival (Jazz at Lincoln Center). Mala has had feature articles in Jazziz, Jazz Improv, Swing Journal, Jazz Life and GQ (Japan) magazines, as well as being a guest on WBGO radio with on-air personality, Rhonda Hamilton and WKCR with Sharif Abdus-Salaam. Mala's music was recently included as part of a segment entitled "Vocalists Under the Radar" on syndicated radio program, "Listen Here!" where hosts Mark Ruffin and Neil Tesser discussed vocalists who they feel are deserving of wider recognition.

~ Steve Salerno - Guitarist ~

Steve is an active performer of both jazz and classical music. He has played with numerous artists including Jaco Pastorius, John Abercrombie, Ray Anderson, Kenny Wheeler, Bennie Wallace, Lee Konitz, Mark Helias, Regina Carter, Randy Brecker and Nat Adderly, Jr. Steve is the Founding Director of the Jazz Program at Stony Brook University where he is completing his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in 20th Century Performance. He is featured on the soundtrack recording for John Feldman’s film, “Dead Funny” starring Andrew McCarthy and Elizabeth Pena.

~ Miriam Sullivan - Bassist ~

Miriam is a graduate of Music and Performing Arts High School and Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. She has toured all over the world including South America with the Jazz Ambassador program. Her impressive resume includes work with Wynton Marsalis, Stefon Harris, Philip Harper, Joshua Redman and Lionel Hampton. She's studied with Billy Taylor and Ron Carter and played in groups such as the Rachel Z Trio and Hip Hop band “3 Bean Stew” led by Quame. Miriam has also appeared in the Kennedy Center's Women in Jazz Festival in 1997 & 1999.

~ Michael "T.A." Thompson (a/k/a "Soundrhythium") - Drummer/Percussionist

Michael Thompson is an anomaly. You will find him in the company of such a wide variety of musical artists including Joe McPhee, John Stubblefield, Henry Grimes, Daniel Carter, Alex Foster, Roy Campbell Jr., Matthew Shipp, Uri Caine, John Patitucci, William Parker, Harvie Swartz, Barbara Sfraga, legendary Calypsonians The Mighty Sparrow, The Shadow, Becket; reggae artist Owen Gray; as well as artists from classical to rap and beyond. He is the producer of "Always There" as well as the new release by vocalist Barbara Sfraga & CSQ entitled Timelessness Frozen in Time.