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by Mike Neely
Don Byas was clearly a rising star when he walked away from fame. He was the first to hold the Lester Young chair in the Count Basie Band, before his 30th birthday. After two years with Basie he moved to New York City, where he played and recorded with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Coleman Hawkins. In 1946 Byas toured Europe and decided France was the place he wanted to live, and so he did.
by Mike Neely
Oklahoma born tenor saxophonist Don Byas moved easily between swing and bebop with an earthy, blues sound that brings to mind Coleman Hawkins but with a lightness of touch and rhythmic agility reminiscent of Lester Young. He successfully synthesized these two influences, in many ways updating them into the bebop era. Byas mastered the breathtaking tempos associated with Parker and Gillespie but avoided the angular, sharp phrasing- with the result that his up-tempo approach had a more rounded, swing solo ...read more
by Dave Nathan
Don Byas, believing he was never going to get the recognition he deserved in this country because of bigotry, left the United States for Europe and never looked back. Virtually all of his good work was done on the Continent. Usually cited as one of the first tenor saxophonist to take up Bop, Byas never let go of his romantic and swinging roots. This reissue of a free wheeling live performance demonstrates how successful Byas was in merging all these ...read more