Donald Byrd & Bobby Jaspar: Cannes ’58

Previously unreleased French radio recording from Cannes featuring Walter Davis, Doug Watkins and Art Taylor is issued on high-quality vinyl


This previously unissued session was recorded by French radio (ORTF) at the first, and as it turned out, the last Cannes Jazz Festival in 1958. Byrd was on a tour of France with fellow former Jazz Messenger Watkins, Art Taylor and Walter Davis. Augmented by French tenor player Jasper they seem to have gone down very well with the French audience, judging by the wild applause and stomping.

The set kicks off with I Get A Kick Out Of You, for which Byrd had written a snappy arrangement featuring his trumpet, Jaspar on tenor saxophone and Art Taylor’s flashy drums.

Jaspar’s Flute Bop features mainly him with some tasty flute licks and Byrd on muted trumpet behind him. Long To You is a wild bop opus by Jaspar and there is a ballad by Byrd and a modern variation of Boogie Woogie, uncredited but probably by the leader.

The front line work well together with some strong rhythm backing from Davis, Taylor and Watkins. This is a good example of a first-rate 50s bop band, not heard on a commercial record before.

Sound is from the original master tapes cut by Kevin Gray and is bright and clear. Byrd is pictured on the back of the LP peering closely at a programme he is signing for a French jazz fan. Most likely concentrating on getting the French spelling correct.

I Get A Kick Out Of you; It Could Happen To You; Long To You; When Your Love Has Gone Away; Flute Bop; Boogie Woogie (39.38)
Byrd (t); Jaspar (ts, f); Walter Davis (p); Doug Watkins (b); Art Taylor (d). Cannes, France, 11 July 1958.
Sam Records 25