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Savoy Jam Party: The Savoy Sessions

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Album Review

A former two-LP set with 32 tracks becomes a single CD consisting of the first 25 numbers. The packaging was shrunk to the point where the liner notes (which refer to all 32 songs) are nearly microscopic...But at least it is "an exact reproduction." Although this reissue from the Japanese Denon label could have been executed better, the music is excellent. Don Byas, one of the great tenors of the 1940s, is featured with groups ranging from a quartet to a sextet; the sideman include trumpeters Charlie Shavers, Emmett Berry and Benny Harris, altoist Rudy Williams, pianists Clyde Hart, Dave Rivera, Jimmy Jones, Teddy Brannon and Sanford Gold, bassists Slam Stewart and Milt Hinton and drummers J.C. Heard and Max Roach. Byas is in superior form on these late-period swing will interest those who can't find the original, better-packaged two-LP set (put out by Arista in the 1970s).


Born: 21 October 1912 in Muskogee, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

One of the greatest of all tenor players, Don Byas' decision to move permanently to Europe in 1946 resulted in him being vastly underrated in jazz history books. His knowledge of chords rivalled Coleman Hawkins, and, due to their similarity in tones, Byas can be considered an extension of the elder tenor. He played with many top swing bands, including those of Lionel Hampton (1935), Buck Clayton (1936), Don Redman, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk (1939-1940), and most importantly Count Basie (1941-1943)....
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