Art Blakey – So Tired (1960)

A Night in Tunisia is a jazz album by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, released in 1960. From the liner notes by Barbara J. Gardner: “This album is a prime example of Blakey’s expressed desire to showcase his young talent. Not only is there extended solo room for the musicians; further, all but the title tune were written and arranged by the talented junior jazz citizens in his group.” Gardner further writes about the title track, written by Dizzy Gillespie: “‘A Night in Tunisia’ as recorded here remains the spectacular fiery poly-rhythmic stimulant that it is when performed live in night clubs and concert stages. The mood is set as Shorter leaps in to render a brilliant rapid-fire solo. Morgan’s airy solo sparkles to the foreground. Note his climactic building and multinoted technique. Bobby Timmons feeds back drive and fire from the keyboard along with the Blakey sizzling cymbals and sputtering drums. Merritt here, as throughout the album, is the capable anchor man.” The album was recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and engineered by Rudy Van Gelder.


Lee Morgan — trumpet
Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone
Bobby Timmons — piano
Jymie Merritt — bass
Art Blakey — drums


Jaki Byard – Amarcord (1981)

“Amarcord Nino Rota” is the first of producer Hal Willner‘s splendid anthology series. Each outing allows an eclectic array of modern, vaguely avant-garde musicians to explore the work of a single composer. Nino Rota is the Italian composer responsible for the well known film scores for The Godfather series, though the breadth of his work extends to opera, ballet and concertos.  Jaki Byard‘s solo piano version of Amarcord is among the highlights.

[Dedicated to Margo Guryan, who studied with Jaki Byard at his studio while attending New England Conservatory of Music in Boston Boston University]

Jaki Byard – Jazz Piano Workshop (1965)

Jaki Byard was shot dead in 1999. The circumstances surrounding his death have not been determined.

Jaki Byard died (tragically) on February 11, 1999. He was 76 years young I only wish that he could have had his last wish which was to buy a boat. Not a big wish to have. I would like to think that maybe he did buy that boat and that maybe our dreams do not die with us, and that maybe he’s just sailing right through heaven now, listening to the music he admired, gigging with his departed fellow musicians and enjoying the high seas of heaven as only he could. .

-Diane Byard

Personnel: Jaki Byard-piano, Reggie Workman-bass, and Alan Dawson-drums.

[via Margo Guryan]