Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

235

Jaki Byard: Sunshine of My Soul

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Jaki Byard is one of only a few jazz musicians who can play comfortably in virtually any style. This has made him a valuable sideman for players as diverse as Maynard Ferguson and Charles Mingus, but has rendered his work as a leader as a tad all over the map, lacking any guiding force to tie the disparate elements together. Lacking a sense of focus, his solo work seems like a man trying to fit all his clothes into a carry-on bag. Occasionally though, Byard is able to make everything work throughout an entire album and the results are always amazing; he can pack more into one song than many of his peers can accomplish in an entire session. This is best shown on Sunshine of My Soul, which easily ranks as among the pianist’s best work.

This is largely due to the crack rhythm section of Izenzon and Jones, who can follow Byard on any path he might choose to wander without getting in a tangle. Izenzon, in one of his few recorded performances in a brief career, displays a knack for fidgety bass lines and smooth bowed passages, sharing with Jones a skill at avoiding the obvious and a penchant for avoiding the beat. Both have the devilish task of following Byard’s piano adventures, which range from free jazz excursions like “Trendsition Zildjian” to a fractured reworking of “St. Louis Blues”. Nothing stays in the same place for long, as if Byard is afraid to be associated with any style and for once, this work’s to his advantage; stride passages sit comfortably next to more modern shades, with Izenzon and Jones helping immeasurably to keep the flow. “St. Louis Blues” is a good example of what the group is up to; a relatively conventional head is juxtaposed with thundering tympani and bowed bass dive-bombs.

This is about as coherent as a Byard album gets. Even the freest moments are as jarring as one might expect. Exemplifying one of jazz’s oddballs, this remains one of Byard’s most interesting and accomplished musical puzzles.


Track Listing: Sunshine, Cast Away, Chandra, St. Louis Blues, Diane's Melody, Trendsition Zildjian.

Personnel: Jaki Byard-piano,guitar; David Izenzon-bass; Elvin Jones-drums, tympani.

Title: Sunshine of My Soul | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Instinct" CD/LP/Track Review Instinct
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Moments Of Fatherhood" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Of Fatherhood
by John Sharpe
Published: April 9, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!