Eli Yamin: You Can't Buy Swing (2008)
The opening track, "I Want To Be A Teacher," as well as "Well, You Better Not," derive from jazz dramas Yamin wrote during his tenure at Louis Armstrong Middle School. Both are contrafacts of Thelonious Monk tunes, "Let's Cool One" and "Well, You Needn't" respectively. They display Yamin's command of Monk devices and flourishes, delivered with exuberance. Chris Byars, who completes the quartet on all but two tracks, finds the Monk groove on soprano and alto saxophones. Alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, who Yamin met when she was a student at LaGuardia High School, digs into the backbeat shuffle of the title tune and bright swirls of "Katiana's New Start."
In his impressive command of jazz piano traditionsreferencing Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal or Abdullah Ibrahim as easily as MonkYamin is reminiscent of the late Jaki Byard, another expansive omnivore of jazz. On "Rwandian Child," a trio track with sax backgrounds at the heart of the album, Yamin builds a dramatically fulfilling performance, personalizing a full spectrum of jazz piano traditions.
Track Listing: I Want To Be A Teacher; You Can
Personnel: Chris Byars: saxophone, flute, conga; Lakecia Benjamin: saxophone; Ari Roland: bass; Alvin Atkinson: drums; Eli Yamin: piano.
Record Label: Self Produced