15 May 2009

Jaki Byard

Like his protege Jason Moran, Jaki Byard possessed a thorough understanding of the history of jazz piano, and could unfurl his vast pianistic knowledge at will with grace and wit. This solo on So Long Eric, from the Jazz Icons DVD series (it begins at the 5:40 mark), represents to me the Platonic ideal of the blues, and is proof of Byard's artistry and wizardry. If you do not like this, then you do not like jazz, and we could never be friends.

Another thought: I've seen video of Mingus playing bass before, but even now, I am struck by how strongly he played the instrument. His right hand was like five hammers; he beat the crap out of his bass, but kept perfect time with impeccable swing.

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