An intimate portrait of a searching artist, Jaki Byard give real meaning to the word virtuoso.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Jaki Byard was somewhat of an enigma. Most people are unaware that Byard had a knowledge and understanding of the discipline of classical since her performed with a more post modern Afro-American blues and swing. It was the technical lessons learned that elevated this talent to the status of legend while never being thrust into the spotlight like some of his contemporaries. The Late Show, An Evening with Jaki Byard is full contact swing and carried off in the most dangerous of formats - solo piano.
Byard was the consummate searching artist, a student of himself. Some tunes work better than others with even those falling short in expectation are still light years ahead of most of his contemporaries. Influences? Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, George Shearing but the performances were always the artistic voice of Jaki Byard. Standard such as "Hello Youg Lovers" and "In Your Own Sweet Way" are reharmed exploratory works that never mangle the original integrity of the melody, perhaps Byard's best known strength.
Volume 3 is an important addition to the Byard discography and one of the finer solo recordings available. Warts and all this is a stunning release. It's not perfect but as Coleman Hawkins said, "If you don't make mistakes then you aren't really trying.
Tracks: Opening Remarks; Hello Young Lovers; In Your Own Sweet Way; Introductory Remarks; Family Suite; Spanish Tinge #1; Introductory Remarks; Strayhorn-Ellington Medley: Daydream, Caravan; Introductory Remarks; European Episode; Medley: All The Things You Are / I'll Remember April; Introductory Remarks; GEB Piano Roll; Sweet Georgia Brown; Introductory Remarks; For All We Know.