November 3rd, 2009
Edward Simon (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), Don Byron and Billy Hart (drums) on stage at the Triple Door tonight as the Earshot Jazz Festival carries on in its last week.
For me, the Don Byron Quartet performance was one of the most enjoyable of the Festival so far. Maybe it was the way he sang a Hank Williams tune or how he referenced one of his compositions to the 1968 Olympics high jumper who first took the plunge backwards, but the performance felt very satisfying and complete. I like his eyeglasses too.
Conceived as a means of expressing gratitude to Lester Young, Don Byron’s 2004 release Ivey-Divey convened an all-star trio with Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette to revisit and reinterpret some of Lester Young’s finest works. Taking its name, orchestration, and much of its repertoire from Young’s great 1940s trio with pianist Nat King Cole and drummer Buddy Rich, Ivey-Divey was immediately recognized as a masterwork. Reflecting Young’s gifts as a communicator, Byron’s ensemble combines the same unbridled joy and enthusiasm of Young’s classic lineup with the innovations and technical advances of the last half century. With Byron playing clarinet and tenor sax, this expanded version of the Ivey-Divey project features Edward Simon (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), and Billy Hart (drums). As with many of Byron’s diverse forays, the Ivey-Divey Quartet is a wholly compelling and at times unpredictable vehicle for Byron and his peers to let loose. From the Earshot Jazz Festival guide.