Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jaki Byard

The "J" section on my iPod takes a long time to scroll through, what with all the Johns and Joes that fill up the jazz fan's soul (does Apple have a copyright?).  And then there are the Jacki(e)s.  Keyboard genius Jaki Byard is not one to be missed.  Perhaps his most important date was with Eric Dolphy at the recording of Far Cry.  You will find it well positioned in my list of best jazz albums. 

Byard  played with the authority of someone who had mastered a lot of the music's history.  A better trained ear than mine can find volumes of jazz tradition on any Byard album, and more than one in one song.  Just now I am listening to The Jaki Byard Experience.  This album features Rolland Kirk "switching between tenor, clarinet, and manzello" (All Music).  What the Hell is a manzello?  Wikipedia saves me here.  It's a mutant soprano saxophone. Rolland Kirk rings my bells.  Richard Davis plays an exquisite and well represented bass, and Alan Dawson drums. 

The opening number, 'Parisian Thoroughfare', is an example of what one might call "traffic jazz."  As the sound of a railroad car clacking over ties inspired many a bluesman, so the sound of a busy street corner has inspired more than one jazzman.  For examples see Charlie Mingus and Arthur Blythe. 

Well, here is a sample. 
Memories of You/The Jaki Byard Experience

One can only wish that Byard and Kirk and Davis got together more often.  This one is a keeper. 


  1. Eric Dolphy changed my life and the way I listen to music. Great post. Also, if anyone is in the NYC area come friday:

    Blue Note Management Group APAP Showcase:
    McCoy Tyner Trio with special guest Gary Bartz

    Francisco Mela’s Cuban Safari

    Jon Batiste Band

    Alfredo Rodriguez

    January 08,2010

    Concert starts @ 8PM
    Doors open @ 6PM
    Tickets $25.00

    Full dinner menu available / General Admission Seated Show / All Ages / First come, first seated / $10 min per person at tables

  2. Thanks for the heads up, BC. I will be in New Orleans on that day, even farther from NY than usual. But I don't mind you posting this notice. I would love to see Tyner play.