COMPOSERS: Don Byron
LABELS: Blue Note
WORKS: Don Byron – Ivey Divey
PERFORMER: Don Byron, Jason Moran, Jack DeJohnette, Ralph Alessi, Lonnie Plaxico
CATALOGUE NO: 578 2152
We can always expect something pleasingly oblique from reedsman Don Byron. Here is a mix of pithy originals with several elegantly perverse standards performed in a hyper-inflected style which almost turns them into ironic commentaries on themselves: ‘I Want to Be Happy’ is spluttery and halting, ‘I’ve Found a New Baby’ is convoluted and hyperactive, and so on. Byron is joined by pianist Jason Moran and drummer Jack DeJohnette, the latter in particular delivering a superbly incisive performance, with occasional contributions from Ralph Alessi on trumpet and Lonnie Plaxico on bass.
In general, though, the absence of a bass instrument from the main trio grouping has the paradoxical effect of making the music more rarefied while at the same time allowing the players freedom to operate in slightly unusual ways. This is suited to Byron’s quirky approach on this recording, which is sonically warm and detailed. Roger Thomas