Jaki Byard

Empirical

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AllMusic Review by

Jaki Byard was an underappreciated artist throughout most of his career and he especially excelled as a solo pianist on dates such as this 1972 session for Muse. "There'll Be Some Changes Made" finds the pianist in a playful mood, showing off his stride piano chops. "Lonely Town," a piece written by Leonard Bernstein for Broadway, is hardly a typical jazz vehicle, but Byard makes it work, incorporating some particularly moody chords to good effect. The pianist's arrangement of "Besame Mucho" is hardly a bland ballad. Following a dramatic introduction, he tackles it at a brisk tempo with a catchy vamp underneath. Among the several originals written by Byard on this CD, the somewhat exotic yet rollicking "Spanish Tinge No. 3" and the easygoing "Tribute to Jimmy Slide" are particularly memorable. Originally issued on LP as There'll Be Some Changes Made, Muse evidently took the original title too seriously. For the CD they altered its name to Empirical, switched to a new cover photo of Byard, and excessively edited Doug Ramsey's excellent liner notes.

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