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Byars, Chris: Photos In Black, White and Gray

Photos In Black, White and Gray is old school jazz, played the way the greats of the 50's used to do it. Chris Byars is a saxophone player whose 2006 debut Night Owls was released to much critical acclaim, and for this new one he has scaled down his normal octet to a quartet comprised of the Across 7th Street rhythm section of pianist Sacha Perry, Ari Roland on bass, and drummer Andy Watson. The band churns out eight upbeat and swinging pieces of classic jazz here, led by Byars' squonking and soaring sax melodies. For a guy who is only 36 years old, he has some fiery chops and a great sense for melody and composition. Watson proves to be very nimble on the drum kit, even getting a chance to flash a wicked solo on "Acoustic Phenomenon", while his cohort on the bass Roland not only plucks but also bows his acoustic bass on occasion. Holding everything together is Perry and his gorgeous piano vamps-check out his complex lines on "Manhatten Valley", as they weave off-kilter melodies for Byars to solo over. Fans of the glory years of jazz will love the hard driving bebop of "Cliff Diving", a furiously paced number with frentic rhythms and the snaking & twirling sax lines from Byars. Another highlight is the smoky "A.T.", a tune that again shows the great melodic sensibility of Byars, but also allows Watson to lay down some tricky rhythms and Roland to launch into a rumbling bass solo.

In short, Photos In Black, White and Gray is a wonderful modern jazz recording that will bring a smile to the face of anyone who has followed the genre since the early days. Expect big things from this amazing young talent.

Track Listing
1 Aquarian Epoch 8:03
2 Milton 7:25
3 Safe At Home 7:12
4 Acoustic Phenomenon 9:28
5 Manhattan Valley 7:49
6 Cliff Diving 6:45
7 Riddle Of The Sphinx 6:38
8 A.T. 6:35

Added: January 29th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2066
Language: english

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