All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


The Jaki Byard Quartet with Joe Farrell: The Last From Lennie's

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
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 for a few years, so it’s a treat to have this unreleased live set to enjoy. All the Byard trademarks are here, from the off-kilter rhythm of the Mingus-ish “Dolphy” to the daring “St. Mark’s Place Among the Sevens,” as good an example of free jazz as any. Byard even shows his sense of humor by playing a ballad medley at a dizzying pace before the rest of the band joins in. The live setting allows the pianist to explore all the possible permutations of a tune with few time restrictions, and one can only imagine what kind of audience at Lennie’s was willing to follow this artist around the stylistic globe.

Byard frequently recorded with a trio, most likely having problems finding sidemen who could follow his quirky vision. His sessions with larger ensembles were uneven, and even his records with Roland Kirk had the feel of two wily veterans trying to outfox each other rather than working together. However, Joe Farrell proved to be the perfect multi-instrumentalist to accompany Byard, able to anticipate his moves and alter his style to suit the chimerical tunes. Farrell, a relatively obscure musician, has been well-served with reissues in 2003 with this record and Andrew Hill’s Passing Ships, and both should finally cement his legacy.

The rhythm section as well shows a deep understanding of what Byard was after; George Tucker gets some tasty bass solos (somewhat of an accomplishment in its own right) and Alan Dawson is able to play straight or avoid the obvious, as the occasion merits. Add excellent sound and mastering and you have a record that exemplifies that best that Byard had to offer.

Track Listing: 1. Twelve 2. Dolphy #1 3. After You've Gone/Strolling Along 4. St. Mark's Place Among the Sevens 5. Dolphy #2 6. Jaki Byard's Ballad Medley: Tea For Two/Lover/Strolling Along/Cherokee/Shiny Stockings 7. King David.

Personnel: Jaki Byard-piano; Joe Farrell-tenor and soprano sax, flute; George Tucker-bass; Alan Dawson-drums.

Title: The Last From Lennie's | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Prestige Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Whose Feet are These That are Walking" CD/LP/Track Review Whose Feet are These That are Walking
by Mike Jacobs
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "No Matter Where Noir" CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Drifting Home" CD/LP/Track Review Drifting Home
by Jim Worsley
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Tether" CD/LP/Track Review Tether
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Unlimited" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 10, 2017