For the second night of renowned jazz performance this semester, Bowdoin welcomes acclaimed artist Cedar Walton tonight.

For those unfamiliar with the artist, Cedar Walton is generally described as a hard-bop style pianist. Hard-bop, an offshoot of the bebop style developed in the 1940s, tends to combine the chamber jazz styles of musicians like Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck with the distinctly American traditions of gospel and blues.

When listening to recordings of Walton, these many different influences and styles are readily recognizable. More rhythm-driven than bebop but more intricately melodic than funk, his arrangements appeal to a wide range of musical tastes.

Director of Events Tony Sprague noted that it is Walton's widespread popularity in the jazz world that has inspired Bowdoin to host the concert.

"Mr. Walton has a great reputation in the jazz community and the decision to have Mr. Walton's quartet visit Bowdoin came based upon first-hand feedback from people who had seen him perform in New York," said Sprague.

Sprague also indicated how fortunate Bowdoin has been so far this semester to have provided the venue for two such distinguished acts.

"Audience members that can attend both concerts will certainly be fortunate as in the span of just two months, they'll have seen performances by two current legends in the jazz world," he said, drawing the comparison between Walton and the Marcus Roberts Jazz Trio concert earlier this semester.

And Cedar Walton certainly is a legend. He has played with some of jazz's greatest performers, including Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie, Art Blakey and John Coltrane, and his career has taken him all over the world (his 1976 performances in Umbria, Italy of his own "Bolivia" and Coltrane's "Naima" are very well-known).

Studzinski Recital Hall, where Walton will be performing, provides an ideal stage for small jazz ensembles like the Cedar Walton Quartet and the Marcus Roberts Trio.

"Mr. Walton's quartet adds a sax in addition to the piano, bass and drums, and the talents of the musicians can really shine in a venue like Studzinski where the acoustics allow the audience members to hear the individual instruments," said Sprague. "They're also close enough to the performers to watch the interplay between them."

The normal set list for jazz concerts are comprised of both the original compositions of the performers in addition to a few established jazz standards. However, in the case of Walton, the two categories overlap, as many of his own pieces have, in fact, entered the jazz canon.

"Mr. Walton doesn't have a set list for each performance and instead he chooses the program for the night's performance right before the start of the event and may make adjustments based on the flow of the concert," said Sprague.

"We would expect that he'll perform several original compositions," he added. "But part of the enjoyment of this concert will come from the surprise of finding out what pieces he will select for this performance."

Concertgoers will certainly experience a unique and exciting performance of one of jazz's most talented pianists.

The concert is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is part of the President's Arts and Lecture Series.

Cedar Walton Jazz Quartet will perform at 8 p.m. tonight at the Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Recital Hall.

The concert is free to Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff with an ID, and to members of the Association of Bowdoin Friends. Admission is $15 for the general public. Tickets are required and are available at the David Saul Smith Union information desk. Call 207-725-3375.