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Jaki Byard was one of the best Jazz pianist ever but as rarely spoken of. He was a very intricate part of Mingus’ studio and live recordings during the 60’s. This made him a very key musician during the early Avant-Garde movement, he was in high demand and he was part of many classic albums. While all this was going on he formed his own groups and recorded great album including these two that are featured here. Here we have both the 1964 “Out Front” and the 1967 “On the Spot” albums. These two albums and any other album Jaki Byard has any association with are considered classics. To learn more about, please check his biography below his image at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

OutFrontCover

About the album:

Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1994, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). Although Jaki Byard was a very eclectic pianist, this is a surprisingly conventional set. On most selections he is joined by bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Walter Perkins (in 1964) for fairly straight-ahead renditions of standards and obscurities. A few of the numbers add Booker Ervin on tenor and trumpeter Richard Williams, and of these by far the most original performance is the episodic “European Episode.” Rounding off the set is…..Read More

OnTheSpotCover

About the album:

Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1999, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). This album mostly features pianist Jaki Byard (who plays alto on “A-Toodle-oo, Toodle-oo”) with a quartet comprised of trumpeter Jimmy Owens, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Billy Higgins in 1967. With a repertoire stretching from “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and the boppish “Second Balcony Jump” to “GEB Piano Roll” and even “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” the music serves as a perfect outlet for Jaki Byard’s eclectic talents; a highlight is the Byard-Chambers duet “P.C. Blues.” The recording is rounded off by a….Read More

JakiByardImageBio

Biography of Jaki Byard:

A musician that has spanned the generations of Jazz is Jaki Byard. Jaki Byard was born John Arthur Byard, Jr. on June 15, 1922 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His father was a member of the marching hands at the turn of the 20th century and played the trombone. His mother played the piano for the African Methodist Episcopalian Zion Church (AME). His maternal grandmother played the piano for the silent picture shows (visual movies without sound before “talking movies” were invented). It was on that piano that Jaki began his musical odyssey. When he was 8 years old, he started taking piano lessons from a piano teacher named Grace Johnson. The swing rhythm of the time and the lure of the big bands inspired Jaki throughout most of his career.

At the age of 16, he played his first professional engagement. During WW II, Jaki was drafted into the army, but with luck and circumstance, he was able to join the army along with Earl Bostic, with whom he would later form a musical alliance with.

By the time he was in his late-thirties, Jaki had a recording contract with Prestige records who engaged him in many recording sessions which allowed him the freedom to have his own compositions heard. It was also around this time that he performed with Charles Mingus as part of an ensemble that featured among its players many fabulous musicians: Eric Dolphy, Jack De Johnette, Johnny Coles and Bobby Jones, who toured Europe and made some great sounds and history. During the 1960’s, he saw great success, and all of his albums received mostly 3-4 star ratings in DownBeat magazine. In 1966, he won the Down Beat Jazz Poll Award for most promising musician of that year. In 1979, his 21-piece big band, The Apollo Stompers was voted the Best House Band in New York City while playing at Ali’s Alley, a club in downtown New York. On his own, Jaki was to win numerous awards and citations for his music and contributions to teaching and dance from many major academic institutions…….Read More

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