Two rare albums from one of the greatest modern pianists ever! Jaki Byard
With Strings is a wonderful album – and nothing like any other "with strings" album you've ever heard! Sure, the set does have some stringed instruments in the group – but it's a small combo session with bass, violin, guitar, and cello, not a large overly-orchestral affair. Byard
's mad vision uses these strings wonderfully to carve out some oddly arranged tunes that mix together soul jazz grooving and a haunting spiritual approach to jazz that points at later work on labels like Strata East. Includes a sublime remake of "Music To Watch Girls By", "Falling Rains Of Life", "Cat's Cradle Conference Rag", and a long version of "How High The Moon". Solo Piano is an obscure set from 1969, featuring Byard
's lonely musings on the keyboard on shorter tracks that reference a huge history of traditions. Titles include "Seasons", "Spanish Tinge 2", "Hollis Stomp", "Top Of The Gate Rag", and "Ray's Blues".
(Please note that the CD omits one track from the Solo Piano album, due to space restrictions. European pressing.)