Caleb Curtis – alto saxophone
Kenny Pexton – tenor saxophone
Adam Coté – bass
Shawn Baltazor – drums
“Count the young, open-spirited band Walking Distance as an impressive contender in a new crop of ensembles representing the contemporary acoustic jazz aesthetic. … Neighborhood announces the arrival of a creative firebrand of a band worth hearing and following.”
★★★★ – DownBeat Magazine
“If any group can turn the concept of ebb and flow into a fully realized art form, it’s Walking Distance.”
★★★★ – All About Jazz
“Although Walking Distance can evoke classic past artists… this is not a even close to a retro act, instead, Walking Distance has that modern nervous ‘punky’ energy and quick-change sensibility that informs much of today’s downtown NY scene. Still, if you appreciate the manic energy of early be-bop, Walking Distance is one of the few modern bands I’ve heard that can play with that kind of emotional dedication and fire.”
★★★★½ – Jazz Music Archives
On Freebird, we’re treated to a set of music which covers a tremendous amount of musical territory, all with aplomb, irreverence and a distinctive group sound. The quartet – comprised of alto saxophonist Caleb Curtis, tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Kenny Pexton, bassist Adam Coté and drummer Shawn Baltazor – released their debut, Neighborhood (Ropeadope), in 2015 which was critically acclaimed in Downbeat, AllAboutJazz and elsewhere. Buoyed by their fans, they raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter for the recording and production of Freebird.
Freebird, the upcoming record from Walking Distance, mutates the music of Charlie Parker by smashing, stretching, and deconstructing his virtuosic melodies - creating new modern, contemporary, humorous and vital music, powered by acclaimed pianist Jason Moran. By enlisting Grammy-nominated producer/mixer Ben Rubin to construct a unique sound palate for each song, Freebird transformed into an epic journey of a record, each song its own world. The combination of virtuoso performances with sonic storytelling has resulted in an album that retains the sound and feel of acoustic jazz while setting a new standard for the way jazz records can sound. "My part, coming into an ensemble that exists with such a strong identity," Moran elaborates, "is to be the water that flows between the cracks, that knows how to fit in the spaces. Each song has components that are challenging, but they also have moments that are pure anchor points in jazz history... and those things become really great to find my way through and shoot through like a prism."