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Jaki Byard at the 1989 JVC-NY Festival

Though less spectacular than the other events of the JVC-NY the solo piano recitals held each year..... are a source of joy. These concerts start very precisely on time and are made to end similarly on the dot at the end of 60 minutes....While jazz audiences welcome starting things on time to terminate the music when everything is groovy and both artist and audience are willing, such military rigidity is most disconcerting. I remember Hilton Ruiz had to be almost physically removed at one of these recitals last year (1988) in his 64th minute.

"This is my first gig after eight weeks", "I'm going to play a medley - it is my ego trip", "And now I am going to butcher Dave Brubeck's Take Five", "I used to be a cocktail lounge pianist, now I'm a solo and jazz pianist", "The next tune is dedicated to Phineas Newborn, I will play "Round Midnight" with only my left hand" (Reference to hand injury Newborn had suffered some years ago), and then "Some big shot in Europe has composed a piece for the laft hand, I"m still working on that", "The next tune is from one of my albums that never sold a million, haven't recorded it yet in fact", "In ten days in Milan and Switzerland I made more money than teaching jazz in New York from September to June".

Not everyone at the Weill could have heard these asides, sometimes it pays to be seated in the front rows. JAKI BYARD spoke these lines between tunes on June 24, 1989....One of the most enjoyable pianists in jazz today. Byard's piano sparkled with the same kind of humour, is full of surprises, bursts of virtuosity, occasional striding with tunes selected and srquenced for variety. These and other ingredients which were manifest had made Byard the favourite of both Charlie Mingus and Roland Kirk. Byard also leads the Apollo Stompers big band in New York.

Previously published by the German JAZZ PODIUM

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jaki Byard
  • Venue: JVC New York Jazz Festival
  • City State Country: New York, NY, USA
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