Chris Byars Octet - Music Forever (2011)

Genre: Jazz | Total Time: 54:33 | Size: 124.68 MB | MP3 320 kbps
1. Somewhere/Music Forever(8:25)
2. Minor Interlude(7:59)
3. Time to Smile(8:04)
4. Just A Ballad For My Baby(4:45)
5. Emily Reno(8:11)
6. Old Spice(9:01)
7. The Thespian(8:09)

Personnel: Zaid Nasser (alto saxophone); Chris Byars (tenor saxophone); Mark Lopeman (baritone saxophone); Scott Wendholt (trumpet); John Mosca (trombone); Sacha Perry (piano); Stefan Schatz (drums).

Chris Byars has enjoyed exploring great jazz compositions that have been overlooked by other bandleaders. He found a mother lode by undertaking a CD of material by pianist Freddie Redd, who had a flurry of activity as a recording artist from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s, before leaving for Europe and only sporadically recording since then. The tenor saxophonist arranged eight of Redd's compositions for his octet, a strong group including trumpeter Scott Wendholt, trombonist John Mosca, alto saxophonist Zaid Nasser and baritone saxophonist Mark Lopeman, with pianist Sacha Perry, bassist Ari Roland, and drummer Stefan Schatz making up the rhythm section. Byars fleshes out Redd's music with thoughtful, lively arrangements, while the solos are short and passed quickly from one player to the next and the ensembles are tight. The snappy "Minor Interlude" moves at a brisk clip, with potent solos by the brass and reed players, along with Ari Roland's Paul Chambers-like arco bass. The jaunty "Time to Smile" deserved to become a hard bop staple, and Byars' harmonically rich arrangement adds to its luster. "Emily Reno" is a lesser-known Redd piece from the 1970s, showcasing Perry's potent bop chops and Mosca's robust trombone. With so many players striving to make a splash with CDs full of originals, it is refreshing to see musicians like Chris Byars who enjoy delving for buried treasures from throughout the history of jazz.

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