Watch Walter Smith III’s Performance Video Of ‘River Styx’ From Upcoming Blue Note Album
The cultured performance serves as the latest taster for the full-length, which will arrive on April 7.
Walter Smith III has released “River Styx” as the third single from the saxophonist’s upcoming debut album for Blue Note, return to casual.
The track arrives with a performance video, directed by Claire Loudis, featuring Smith with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, pianist Taylor Eigsti, guitarist Matt Stevens, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Kendrick Scott. The cultured rendition serves as the latest taster for the full-length, which will arrive on April 7. “River Styx” comes in the wake of Smith’s cover of Kate Bush’s “Mother Stands for Comfort” and the lead single “Contra.”
All of the musicians featured in the video perform on return to casual, which is the follow-up to Houston native Smith’s self-released 2014 recording still casual. The album also features a guest appearance by pianist James Francies and will contain eight original works, and one new arrangement. The sax man’s recording career dates back to 2005, when he made his debut with Casually Introducing for Fresh Sound New Talent.
return to casual has already won the glowing approval of Jazzwise, which calls it “a standout release.” Its review notes: “Bassist Harish Ragavan and drummer Kendrick Scott are crisp, contemporary support and guitarist Matt Stevens and pianist Taylor Eigsti are impressively lean in the middle range.”
The magazine singles out the closing track, “Revive,” as a vehicle for the frontman’s prowess, observing that the ballad “closes the album to showcase Smith’s gorgeous tone and rhythmic control.”
Smith made his debut as a bandleader last month at New York’s famed Village Vanguard club, where he and his band played a February 7-12 residency, previewing tracks from the new album. He also features, as part of a trio with bassist Reuben Rogers, on bandmate, and Blue Note labelmate, Kendrick Scott’s third album for the label, Corridors, which was released on March 3.
Pre-order return to casual, which is released on April 7.