San Francisco's famed Keystone Korner shuttered its doors in 1983, but it's getting more press today than plenty of clubs that are still serving up jazz. In the past two years alone, a previously unreleased live recording of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard--Pinnacle (Resonance, 2011)--launched Resonance Records' Keystone Korner Live Discoveries series, photographer Kathy Sloane released Keystone Korner: Portrait Of A Jazz Club (IU Press, 2011) to great acclaim, and the club's owner--tireless jazz advocate Todd Barkan--started hosting/curating Keystone Korner Nights" at New York's Iridium (in January of 2013). Now, more love for this venue and the musicians it hosted comes via ...read more
One of San Francisco's most famous jazz venues, Keystone Korner, closed in 1983. It was a favorite venue of the top jazz players of the day, and several landmark live albums by pianists Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, and saxophonists Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Stan Getz, resulted from shows taped inside its hallowed hall.The Magic of 2 showcases the piano talents of Tommy Flanagan (1930-2001) and Jaki Byard (1922-1999), live at the Keystone Korner in 1982, mixing duets with solos from each of the players.Flanagan, the more traditionally straight-ahead of the two, played on dozens of ...read more
Curious title for this album. Sure, it's a nice pun on the pianistic adventures included, but with the possible exception of Duke Ellington or Mary Lou Williams, there was hardly another jazz pianist of the mid-20th Century who saw more gray areas in the music's broad landscape than the late Jaki Byard. In his trio sessions for Prestige, his work with Charles Mingus, or in his late-period solo recitals, anything from James P. Johnson's charging stride figures to Earl Hines' unbridled, multi-octave runs to the dissonant colorations of Andrew Hill are likely to be encountered. Here, and everywhere else he ...read more
Pianist Jaki Byard (1922-1999) is the first one you hear on 2007's great vault discovery, the previously unheard Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy, Cornell 1964 (Blue Note). A favorite of Mingus, who famously disliked most piano players, Byard played with a wide range of jazz musicians and was an acclaimed teacher whose students included Fred Hersch, DD Jackson and Jason Moran. And as the music/jazz teacher at the Music Critic Association/Smithsonian jazz fellows seminars/workshops in the early 1970s, his highly eclectic, historical approach impacted a generation of influential jazz critics and writers. But Byard was at ...read more
I was introduced to the work of pianist Jaki Byard through his work as a sideman with Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus. Both his eclectic style and sense of humor appealed to me, so I soon found myself snapping up every record and CD in which he took part, even getting an opportunity to do liner notes for the long hidden tapes which made up the Jaki Byard Quartet with Joe Farrell: The Last From Lennie's , issued by Prestige in 2003.
When I learned that Byard was doing a solo set at the 1992 Chicago Jazz Festival, ...read more
Rhapsody Films Double Feature: Jaki Byard - Anything for Jazz (1980) Elvin Jones - Different Drummer (1979) Rhapsody Films 2004
As part of its ongoing reissue of classic jazz titles on DVD, Bruce Ricker pairs two documentaries - Ed Gray's '79 Elvin Jones film, Different Drummer , with Dan Algrant's '80 piece on pianist Jaki Byard, Anything for Jazz. An interesting pairing, given Jones' influential stature in the jazz world, and Byard's sadly more overlooked contribution. Both documentaries paint compelling portraits, mostly in the artists' own words, with bassist Ron Carter providing ...read more
If anyone wanted to record a history of jazz piano, it could have been done by Jaki Byard, an incredibly versatile pianist who could play virtually any style. However, Byard was too cagey to have approached a project of that magnitude, preferring to meld his influences within the space of a single composition. Utilizing a method that at times seemed as if Eubie Blake’s left hard and Cecil Taylor’s right hand were playing in Art Tatum’s style, Byard created a series of recordings that didn’t always click, but were always intriguing and never boring.
Byard has been gone ...read more