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Geoffrey Smith celebrates the work of tenor saxophonist Don Byas, including his recordings as a soloist with Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.

Don Byas (1912-72) may be the best saxophonist you’ve never heard of. Coming to fame with Count Basie, he made his mark in the bebop band of Dizzy Gillespie, and forged a stellar reputation as a soloist. But in 1946, he moved to Europe, playing well, but rather forgotten. Geoffrey Smith restores the reputation of a formidable tenorist.

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Don Byas

TITLE               ROYAL GARDEN BLUES

Artists:             Count Basie

Composers:     Spencer & Clarence Williams

Album Title:    Count Basie Vol. 3 – Coming Out Party

Label:              Naxos  8120819

Performers:     Don Byas(tenor sax); Count Basie (piano); Buck Clayton (trumpet); Freddie Green (guitar); Walter Page (bass); Jo Jones (drums)

 

TITLE               BLUES IN THE GROOVE

Artists:             Albert Ammons and his Rhythm Kings

Composers:     Larry Young

Album Title:    Albert Ammons – Boogie Woogie Man

Label:              Topaz TPZ 1067

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor Sax);  ‘Hot Lips’ Page (trumpet); Vic Dickenson (trombone); Albert Ammons (piano); Israel Crosby (bass); Sid Catlett (drums)

 

TITLE               BEBOP

Artists:             Dizzy Gillespie & his Orchestra

Composers:     Dizzy Gillespie

Album Title:    Modern Jazz the Beginnings

Label:              Jazz Classics: RPCD 638

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Clyde Hart (piano); Oscar Pettiford (bass); Shelly Manne (drums).

 

TITLE               CANDY

Artists:             Don Byas

Composers:     Mack David / Joan Whitney / Alex Kramer

Album Title:    Savoy Jam Party

Label:              Savoy Jazz  SV-0268

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Benny Harris (trumpet); Jimmy Jones (piano); John Levy (bass); Fred Radcliffe (drums)

 

TITLE               BYAS A DRINK

Artists:             Don Byas

Composers:     Don Byas

Album Title:    Savoy Jam Party

Label:              Savoy Jazz  SV-0268

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Benny Harris (trumpet); Jimmy Jones (piano); John Levy (bass); Fred Radcliffe (drums)

 

TITLE               INDIANA

Artists:             Don Byas & Ben Webster

Composers:     James F.Hanley/Ballard Macdonald

Album Title:    Two Kings of the Tenor Sax

Label:              Commodore 6-24058

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Ben Webster (tenor sax); Slam Stewart (bass)

 

TITLE               I GOT RHYTHM

Artists:             Don Byas & Ben Webster

Composers:     George & Ira Gershwin

Album Title:    Two Kings of the Tenor Sax

Label:              Commodore 6-24058

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Ben Webster (tenor sax); Slam Stewart (bass)

 

TITLE               ST. LOUIS BLUES

Artists:             Don Byas

Composers:     William C Handy

Album Title:    Savoy Jam Party

Label:              Savoy Jazz  SV-0268

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Sanford Gold (piano); Leonard Gaskin (bass); Max Roach (drums)

 

TITLE               OLD FOLKS

Artists:             Don Byas

Composers:     W. Robinson

Album Title:    Don Byas on Blue Star

Label:              Emarcy: 833405-2

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Art Simmons (piano); Joe Benjamin (bass); Bill Clarke (drums)

 

TITLE               JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS

Artists:             Don Byas

Composers:     Cole Porter

Album Title:    Lover Man

Label:              Vogue: 74321154702

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor sax); Maurice Vander (piano); Fats Sadi (vibes); Pierre Michelot (bass); Benny Bennett (drums)

 

TITLE               GOOD BAIT

Artists:             Don Byas/Bud Powell

Composers:     Tadd Dameron/Basie

Album Title:    A Tribute to Cannonball

Label:              Columbia JC 35755

Performers:     Don Byas (tenor); Bud Powell (piano); Kenny Clarke (drums); Idrees Sulieman (trumpet); Pierre Michelot (bass)

 

TITLE               RUA DO CAPELAO      

Artists:             Don Byas & Amalia

Composers:     Julio Dantas/ Frederico De Freitas

Album Title:    Encontro

Label:              VSL: 11382

Performers:     Don Bays (tenor Sax); Amalia Rodrigues (vocal).

 

TITLE               LULLABY TO DOTTIE MAE

Artists:             Don Byas & Ben Webster

Composers:     Don Byas

Album Title:    Ben Webster Meets Don Byas

Label:              MPS  827 920-2

Performers:   Don Byas (tenor Sax); Ben Webster (tenor sax); Tete Montoliu (piano); Peter Trunk (bass); Al “Tootie” Heath (drums).

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