Donald Byrd & Bobby Jasper: Paris ’58

French radio recorded six tracks while trumpeter Byrd was touring France in 1958 and they are released for the first time on this vinyl disc

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This session was recorded in Paris for French radio during the Byrd quintet’s tour of France in 1958. Three tracks were recorded by the quintet with Byrd’s rhythm section and three with a French unit.

Two of the best selections come on side one – Splendid and Formidable, written by the group’s pianist Walter Davis. These uptempo pieces show Byrd at his best with a strong, brassy tone and plenty of inspired invention. Jasper impresses on cool, laid-back tenor sax which contrasts neatly with the leader’s full throttle horn. The rhythm section is equal to everything thrown at them and play with spirit.

Paul’s Pal is by Sonny Rollins, a tune he played on a record session where Paul Chambers was his bassist. This version is played at slow tempo. Easy Living is taken at a medium, loping tempo with Byrd muted and Jasper on flute. After You’ve Gone is played at a killing tempo where the French rhythm section just about manage to keep up. The pianist has a good solo here though. Flute Bop is by Jasper, and he gets most of the solo space, with Byrd playing supporting lines alongside.

Byrd and Watkins worked together from 1956 when Donald replaced Kenny Dorham in the Messengers and continued into the early 1960s.

This session is issued here on LP for the first time and shows the band on good form throughout although the simultaneously released Cannes Jazz Festival disc scores higher marks for the fired-up playing of the band encouraged by the wild applause by the audience.

Discography
Splendid; Paul’s Pal; Formidable; Easy Living; After You’ve Gone; Flute Bop (36.45)
Byrd (t); Bobby Jasper (ts, f); Walter Davis, Jack Dieval (p); Doug Watkins, Jacques Hess (b); Art Taylor, Daniel Humair (d). Paris, November & December 1958.
Sam Records LP 26