Ran Blake / Jaki Byard

Improvisations

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This very interesting release matches together Ran Blake and Jaki Byard in a set of piano duets. Because Byard (who can play credibly in virtually every jazz style) is highly flexible, he was able to meet Blake on his own terms and inspire him to play more extrovertedly than usual. Their seven collaborations (a pair of standards, one recent obscurity, Blake's "Wende" and three songs co-written by the pianists) have their playful moments, are quite exploratory, and always hold one's interest. In other words, this matchup works.

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