Chris Byars: Photos in Black, White and Gray (2007)
A talented player, Byars is clearly finding his own voice on each of his three instruments (alto, tenor and soprano sax) and his program of originals is well-paced with a fair amount of variety. He shows a bit of playfulness in "Aquarian Epoch," while the brisk samba "Manhattan Valley" is another obvious highlight. Byars' robust tenor is on display in the pulsating piano-less setting of "A. T." (dedicated to the late drummer Art Taylor).
He then switches to soprano sax for the enticing ballad "Safe at Home." Perry, who studied with Barry Harris, is a solid bop pianist who pushes the leader with his driving accompaniment. Roland provides a firm foundation, his arco bass technique inviting comparison to recorded Paul Chambers. Watson is a refreshingly restrained drummer who effortlessly keeps a strong beat, though he is no slouch when he takes the opportunity to solo in "A. T.."
Track Listing: Aquarian Epoch; Milton; Safe at Home: Acoustic Phenomenon; Manhattan Valley; Cliff Diving; Riddle of the Sphinx; A. T.
Personnel: Chris Byars: alto, tenor and soprano saxophones; Sacha Perry: piano; Ari Roland: bass; Andy Watson: drums.
Record Label: Smalls Records