Jaki Byard

Jaki Byard with Strings

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This out-of-print album is quite unusual. Although pianist Jaki Byard is technically featured "with strings," the strings consist of violinist Ray Nance (who sings "Ray's Blues"), guitarist George Benson, cellist Ron Carter and bassist Richard Davis (along with drummer Alan Dawson). The repertoire includes a jammed version of "How High the Moon," a couple of tricky Byard originals and the then-current pop tune "Music to Watch Girls By." But more significant than the songs is the playing by the distinctive musicians who almost make the band sound like a regular group rather than a one-time get-together. Hopefully Fantasy will get around to reissuing this valuable music on CD eventually.

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