Donald Byrd

Early Byrd

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For a period trumpeter Donald Byrd and altoist Gigi Gryce led a group that they called the Jazz Lab Quintet. This fine double-LP contains two of their Columbia albums (Jazz Lab and Modern Jazz Perspective), neither of which have been reissued to date on CD. The first set, which adds five horns on some of the selections, is most notable for emphasizing such then-recent jazz compositions as "Speculation," "Nice's Tempo," Randy Weston's "Little Niles" and "I Remember Clifford." The melody line of Gryce's "Blue Concept" is particularly memorable. The second session has three extra horns on some tunes, a few vocals by Jackie Paris and such numbers as Benny Golson's "Stablemates" and the Gryce originals "An Evening in Casablanca" and "Social Call." It is a pity that this group did not last longer and that this valuable double-LP from 1973 is difficult to find these days.