Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Byard's "Out Front" A Better "Experience"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 06/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jaki Byard is a solid and eclectic bop pianist probably best remembered for his contributions to several classic Charles Mingus and Booker Ervin albums of the 60s. I have previously reviewed his 1968 OJC album, "The Jaki Byard Experience," but those curious about the pianist would be best served starting with this title, "Out Front," and here's why. The majority of this CD is taken from two sessions in May 1964, a time when Byard was truly hitting his stride, most notably on tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin's classic recordings, "The Freedom Book" and "The Space Book." In fact, Ervin and trumpeter Richard Williams play on half of "Out Front's" eight tunes, including two CD bonus tracks not on the original vinyl, "I Like To Lead When I Dance" and "After The Lights Go Down Low." The album's other four tracks are trio tunes, with Bob Cranshaw and Walter Perkins playing on three of them (they are also the rhythm section for the numbers with Ervin and Williams). The remaining track, "When Sunny Gets Blue," is from a March 1961 date featuring Ron Carter on bass, Roy Haynes on drums, and Jaki Byard on piano, and surprisingly on alto sax too! My reason for giving "Out Front" a better overall rating than "The Jaki Byard Experience" is that I believe "Out Front," despite its diverse feel, is a more cohesive and consistent album than "Experience," and I feel Ervin is a better fit for Byard's music than Roland Kirk, who is the saxophonist on "Experience." With that being said, my reason for withholding a fifth star here is that Ervin and Williams do not get enough chances to showcase their stuff and are often confined to playing the role of accompanist while Byard plays in the "out front" style. But "Out Front" is definitely worth looking into for fans of Mingus and Ervin, not to mention jazz piano enthusiasts. I personally thought the CD was worth purchasing for the ambitious suite "European Episode" alone. A final note, interested parties should also be aware that "Out Front" is a limited edition title, so it won't be "out front" for long."
Michael B. Richman | 06/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I own Byard's Out Front!, Here's Jaki, and Hi-Fly. Of these three albums, Out Front! has the best song selection and is the most diverse in terms of instruments. Booker Ervin's tenor sax is much more lyrical on Out Front! than on his Sapce Book and Freedom Book albums. Also, ... Jaki Byard fans will enjoy his playing tenor sax on "When Sunny Gets Blue". My favorite tracks on Out Front! are Out Front, European Episode and Lush Life. The liner notes are very extensive and meaningful to die hard jaki byard fans. If you like Jaki Byard, then your collection should include Out Front!"