Tuesday, January 5, 2010
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.
One can only wish that Byard and Kirk and Davis got together more often. This one is a keeper.