Don Byas

Don Byas: 1947-1951

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The great tenor-saxophonist Don Byas moved permanently to Europe in 1946 and was largely forgotten in the U.S. However he played steadily during his decades overseas and recorded fairly frequently, even if most of the records were quite obscure in the United States. This CD is full of rarities. Byas is heard in Spain with the commercial dance band of Bernard Hilda, playing with some more jazz-oriented combos of Spaniards, and back in France during 1949-51 where his sidemen include pianists Bernard Peiffer, Art Simmons, and trumpeter Guy Longnon. The music on these dates is advanced swing that looks towards bop. Byas really tears apart some of the chord changes when he's not caressing the melodies with his huge tone, playing some miraculous ideas on "Stardust."

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