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July In Paris

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Album Review

This live CD from a new French jazz label appeared right around the time of Jaki Byard's sudden death on Feburary 11, 1999, so it may be the final documentation of the late pianist's work. Byard is clearly in great spirits, except for having to shout down a noisy member of the audience during one number.

With bassist Ralph Hamperian and drummer Richard Allen in the first half, Byard's creative medleys blend contrasting works such as Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" with Miles Davis' "So What"; his introspective originals such as "Nostradamus" and the opening medley of "After the Sun Disappears"; and "Xalithen Rose" and his playful rendition of "C'est Si bon" make for a rather diverse first set. Former pupil Ricky Ford joins them on tenor sax with a tasty original blues "Mimi" and sits in for most of a lengthy medley that wraps the CD. This isn't Byard's best CD, but it is a worthy last date by a man who made many memorable recordings.


Born: 15 June 1922 in Worcester, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The late Jaki Byard was, arguably, the most versatile pianist in jazz, though he also played trumpet and was an excellent tenor saxophonist. Born in 1922, he grew up during the golden era, and while younger than Duke Ellington, he embraced, as had his predecessor, all of the changes the music went through, from its origins in New Orleans through the free improvisation era. Byard would, in a single solo concert, reveal his truly awesome mastery of the aforementioned styles, as well as R&B, stride,...
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July In Paris, Jaki Byard
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  • £8.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 01 September 1998

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