Tribute To Cannonball

Don Byas &
Bud Powell

Tribute To Cannonball

Tribute To Cannonball

Don Byas, tenor sax; Idrees Sulieman, trumpet; Bud Powell, piano;
Pierre Michelot, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.

1. Just One Of Those Things (Cole Porter) 5:08
2. Jackie My Little Cat (Pierre Michelot) 4:48
3. Cherokee (Ray Noble) 6:18
4. I Remember Clifford (Benny Golson) 6:15
5. Good Bait (Tadd Dameron) 6:30
6. Jeannine (Duke Pearson) 5:59
7. All The Things You Are (Hammerstein-Kern)
8. Myth (Pierre Michelot) 5:32
Cover Design by HOWARD FRITZON
Recorded on December 15, 1961,
Paris, France.

When these sides were produced in Paris in late 1961 by Cannonball Adderley--and they are a treasure now exposed to light for the first time--Don Byas found himself the unofficial patriarch of an expatriate jazz community boasting some of the major figures in the new music. Kenny "Klook"Clarke, virtually the father of modern drumming and co-founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet, arrived in 1956. Three years later, pianist Bud Powell, the unpredictable genius who could count even Art Tatum among his admirers, arrived and with Clarke and the much-admired French bassist Pierre Michelot formed The Three Bosses. Idrees Sulieman, one of the most astute disciples of Dizzy Gillespie, made the leap shortly after, settled in Stockholm, became an expert saxophonist, and eventually a member of the extraordinary big band Kenny Clarke co-leads with Francy Boland.

Byas and Powell, although they played together on numberless occasions going back to the mid-'40s, represent two approaches to the music reflecting two eras: Before Charlie Parker and after Parker. Byas was a masterful swing player with his own style. Powell and Clarke are the quintessential beboppers. Listen--and consider all the revolutionary chaos bebop was supposed to have inflicted on jazz--to how lovingly they communicate with Byas. Listen to how the saxophone and piano solos complement and enhance each other though the syntax is different. And listen to the way Clarke of Pittsburgh and Michelot, once of the Paris Opera, cook together.

The three standards represented are given exceptional performances. "Cherokee" features particularly vigorous work from Byas, including a stunning coda. Bud is in rare form ripping through the changes, creating his own cosmos. "All The Things You Are" is introduced by Michelot playing the familiar bop riff, but the theme isn't stated until the out chords. Sulieman has a solid spot and Byas follows with an explosive chorus that is a tale unto itself. The rhythm section is boiling on "Just One Of Those Things." Byas authoritatively takes charge, his passion nicely contrasted by Powell's exquisite and deliberate exploration.

"Good Bait" is one of the best known compositions by Tadd Dameron, whose largely unheralded work in a too-brief and tortured career has since provided nice incomes for dozens of TV composers and Hollywood hacks. This is a special performance: Byas, obviously in a good mood, toys with strict bop phraseology, showing that he could do pretty much whatever he chose. Sulieman is in excellent form. Benny Golson's haunting "I Remember Clifford" was a favorite with both Byas and Powell. it is a beautiful but mournful tune that each was to record again at later times. For Bud, there must have been a special meaning: his younger brother, Richie, was killed in the same accident that took Clifford Brown's life. Byas is featured movingly and Powell has a brief but impeccably lush passage.

"Jeannine" is a 16-bar line with an eight bar release. Clarke opens and closes it with everyone getting one relaxed chorus. "Myth" is a 16-bar blues. On the ballad "Jackie My Little Cat," Byas is featured for two choruses except for an eight bar piano interlude. He sticks close to the melody, demonstrating how much a great player can say with sonority and graceful embellishment.

Bud Powell preceded Byas in returning to his homeland. He came back in 1964 and spent two years in a state of despondency and frustration, playing hardly at all. He died on July 1966, the most brilliant pianist of his time, at the age of 41. Byas' playing was also to suffer in his last few years; he seemed tired, he was losing a battle with alcohol. The music they fashioned continues, however, outside of time and the inequities of life. It sings with a vitality of love and sorrow, transforms the moment with grand sunsets and pathetic drizzles, defies indifference with the preachment of hope.

--GARY GIDDINS, from the liner notes,
A Tribute To Cannonball, Columbia.

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