Jaki Byard

Here's Jaki

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With 24-year-old, metro Detroit bassist Ron Carter and fellow Bostonian, veteran drummer Roy Haynes, pianist Byard has formed a partnership on this recording that effectively grasps modern jazz. This is no standard trio; they're a collective who romps through these seven selections with a surprise or more a minute. It's mainly due to Byard's refusal to sit still. Penning five of these not-so-easy pieces, Byard digs into a 5/4 modal calypso, rippling off minor incursions or stair-step delicate lines for the long jam "Cinco y Quatro." Part of an incomplete suite, "Mellow Septet" is an easy swinging blues much like "Freddie Freeloader," with Byard rambling in mid-section. He switches from Erroll Garner, elfish lines to a Fats Waller-type stride on "Garnerin' a Bit," replete with Carter's deep blue bass and Haynes' precision-stroked brushes. Of course, Byard loves to reharmonize and reinvent standards. "Giant Steps" is taken at half-tempo from the original, but the melody itself has twice as many notes, especially in the blizzard-like coda. A combo "Bess, You Is My Woman/It Ain't Necessarily So" starts with ruminating tom toms which introduce "Bess" as a sinister mistress, then depict her as an elegant sophisticate in ballad form. Haynes is knocked out by the woman, breaking out in bomb-like bursts twice during "So," and he is the fuse for a free-burning ending. Sometimes it seems as if these three are restrained, holding back the all-out power they possess. Shackles tossed aside, they can get it done like few other trios, and were they a working band during the next few decades, it would have been glorious to hear where they would take this format. "Here's Jaki" is a tip of the iceberg.

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