Cedar Walton (1934, Dallas, TX) was taught piano as a youth by his mother. After University and serving in the Army (getting to play jazz while stationed in Germany), Walton became an important part of the New York jazz scene in 1958. He worked with Kenny Dorham and J.J. Johnson, and was a member of the Jazztet, playing next to Benny Golson and Art Farmer. Most important was Walton's period as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. During 1961-64 he was a key member in a classic edition of the group along with Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller. The band's worldwide tours and regular recordings gave Walton strong exposure and made it possible for him to launch a successful solo career after he left Blakey.
Cedar worked with Abbey Lincoln during 1965-66, made many recordings (mostly as a sideman) during the second half of the 1960s, co-led a quintet with Hank Mobley and returned briefly to Blakey in 1973 for a Japanese tour. Otherwise he has mostly been a leader during the past 40 years, usually heading a trio although he has also led the quintet Eastern Rebellion. While his playing was originally influenced by Bud Powell and later on took on some of the characteristics of McCoy Tyner's approach, he has long had his own style and sound within the straight ahead jazz tradition, looking forward while being tied to his swinging roots. He is also an underrated composer, with his "Bolivia" becoming a standard and his many other pieces also being well worth exploring.
David Williams (1946, the West Indies) has been part of the New York jazz scene since the late 1960s. He has worked with a wide range of top musicians including Beaver Harris, Chuck Mangione, Ornette Coleman, Charles McPherson, Billy Taylor, Duke Jordan, Kenny Barron, Elvin Jones, Don Pullen Archie Shepp, Art Pepper, Slide Hampton, Woody Shaw, Frank Morgan, David Hazeltine, David "Fathead Newman, Stanley Turrentine, Vincent Herring, Eric Alexander, and Cedar Walton starting in 1983.