Mal Waldron – Blue Note in Europe

Jazz Pianist Mal Waldron (Picture/Source: Embryo)

Mal Waldron, the great American Jazz pianist, was born on 16th August 1925 in New York City. When he was nine years old, he started playing the piano. In the Fifties he had been engaged by Jazz giants like John Coltrane or Billie Holiday. Jazz became more and more popular at those times and New York City the centre of the business with Jazz. The label „Blue Note“, founded by the German immigrants Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff in 1939, represented the Avantgarde Jazz in the Fifties and Sixties, but the German founders were also interested in different developments of Jazz as well as in making money, for sure. For gifted newcomers, who dreamt of releasing a LP with own compositions, the busy friends often prepared contracts with conditions to letting them record three pieces of own compositions and three pieces of well-known pieces. What newcomers had overseen very often, was the point that they at least lost many rights and much money by undersigning those poisoned contracts.

Christian Burchard and Mal Waldron at playing chess 1969

New beginning in Europe

Something like that must have happened to Waldron, when he came to Europe
with empty pockets. In many interviews the Embryo-founders Christian Burchard and Edgar Hofman repeated the personal tragedy of Waldron, who they helped a lot, to get a better start in Europe. For sure, it was a give and take, a win-win situation, because Mal Waldron had already had an excellent reputation in the Jazz scenery at those times. A few years later the young Christian Burchard met Mal Waldron. The meeting initialised a life-long friendship and a unique collaboration between Christian, Embryo and Mal.

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