With their disparate histories and styles, this could seem like an unlikely and potentially ill-fitting pairing of talents. What holds it togetherand indeed what makes for an exciting and truly inspired setis their depth of knowledge of the jazz piano tradition, from ragtime and stride to bebop and swing, together with an unmistakable zest and joy for performing together before a live audience.
The duo opens with "Scrapple From the Apple," from the pen of alto saxophonist/bebop pioneer Charlie Parker
, an ebullient seven-minute history lesson in jazz piano, swaggering through early twentieth century New York swing to the bawdy night life sparkle of New Orleans, making for a joyous jumble of its familiar melody. Byard and Flanagan trade solos on Cole Porter
: "Something to Live For," pensive and elegant in Flanagan's hands; a bright, strutting take on "All Day Long"; and the often-covered "Chelsea Bridge,'' here with a dark and wistful edge. Byard leans in a more modern direction, covering Stevie Wonder
' "The Theme," shooting crisp notes out of lush cascades flowing over a dense rhythmtwo piano giants at the top of their game, having the time of their lives.
Track Listing: Introduction; Scrapple From the Apple; Just One of Those Things; Satin Doll;
Something to Live For; Send One Your Love; Our Delight; All Day Long; Sunday;
Chelsea Bridge; Land of Make Believe; the theme.
Personnel: Tommy Flanagan: piano; Jaki Byard: piano.