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Joined by piano phenomenon Jason Moran and elder statesman and masterful drummer Jack DeJohnette, Byron and co. stretch out on a varied selection of tunes, half of them old standards associated with Lester Young, who also once lead a similar bass-less trio. But this is no nostalgic look back to jazz's humbler origins. Classic standards are torn asunder and re-imagined as vehicles for extended improvisation. Nothing is sacred on this disc. Even an old chestnut like "Somebody Loves Me" gets deconstructed and utilized as a springboard for intensive rhythmic, harmonic and melodic free-interplay. An acoustic take on Miles Davis' electric classic "In a Silent Way" provides the group with a launching pad into the stratosphere, transforming the original ambient melody into an anthem of catharsis. It is in their expansion and elaboration of these tunes that their interpretive skills come to the fore. Although the group is occasionally joined by bass and trumpet it is the core trio and their telepathic interplay that dominate the proceedings here.
Easily one of the best jazz albums to come out so far this year, Byron finally makes good on all the promise alluded to on albums past by finally delivering the goods.
Ivey Divey is primarily a trio album with Byron on clarient & bass clarinet, Jason Moran on piano, and Jack Dejohnette on drums. Ralph Alessi (trumpet) and Lonnie Plaxico (bass) join in as guests on a few tunes as well. Throughout the album Moran, Dejohnette, and Byron have amazing chemistry as they play off each other's every move. The arrangements of classic tunes (I Want to Be Happy, Somebody loves me, I've found a new Baby, Freddie Freeloader, and In a Silent way) are creative and classic. Who would have thought a trio could pull off in a silent way, but it's done brilliantly here. The overall sound is post bop, with a 30's swing feel and a little flare of avante garde. This is my second favorite Don Byron album (after Bug Music).
In a Silent Way: Wow! where do I start with this one. Just a killer arrangement for a trio (Bryon, Moran, & Dejohnette). Byron opens with reflective clarient, and Dejohnette, taps a wide array of symbols for an emotional intro which culminates in passionate screams from Byron's clarient. Next the faster pace section begins which Dejohnette hitting the drums and Moran just doing a killer take of the faster melody on the low keys of his keyboard. Absolutely classic.
I've found a new Baby: One of my favorite standards. This is a great take, once again done by the trio. It's got kind of a 30's swing feel to it, and reminds me a bit of the mood and feel from Bug Music. Passionate playing abounds from Byron.
The Goon Drag: The best of the originals on the CD. Features the full band (R.Alessi + L. Plaxico join the trio). It's got a swing feel with a melody that features inter-twining horn parts. Once again reminds me a bit of the feel of bug music. Ralph Alessi has a great tone on the trumpet and he is my favorite contemporary trumpet player after Dave Douglas. He plays well with Byron.
That said, I had a hard time warming up to this CD. It's one of those I bought, listened to once, and then didn't listen to again for a long time. I think it's that I couldn't get past the lack of a bass presence on the first five cuts. (Lonnie Plaxico plays on 6-9 and 11, five of the 13 cuts.) There's nothing wrong with those first five pieces: great playing by all involved, solid interplay. But there just seemed to be a big hole where a bass should have been.
This is odd, because among jazz CDs I love are several that don't feature bass players--Marc Copland's "That's For Sure," Enrico Rava's "Tati", among others. But those CDs feature mostly ruminative, meditative music, and--perhaps crucially--no drummer. In other words, you don't come to them with an expectation of a strong rhythm section. But when you've signed on the force of nature called Jack DeJohnette--well, you've got a different set of expectations. I'm wanting to hear Jack grooving with a Dave Holland, a Gary Peacock, a Christian McBride, and I can't NOT miss that.
So it's something of a relief when Plaxico comes on board--though I wish he had been brought up in the mix and been more involved in the music; he seems relegated to a strictly background role. (No, I'm not a bass player!) And when he leaves the stage, again, I miss his presence.
I've now listened to this CD four or five times, and I'm liking it better each time (it does take a while to absorb); it will definitely stay in my collection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I borrowed this album many years ago - finally bought it!
His interpretations on the Lester Young trio album - and additional songs is great. Read more
My husband and I saw him in a gospel jazz concert so I proceeded to find his music here. Glad I did! This is a cheerful cd, we enjoy it!Published on May 16, 2013 by artistwriter
I have listened to this album many times over the years
I find Don Byron's playing off key yet weirdly enticing
He has my favorite pianist on this,Jason Moran... Read more
I still think Tuskugee Experiments is Mr Byron's most satisfying album. There is no doubting the talent on offer on IVEY DIVEY but to me it sounds like a practice session or at... Read morePublished on April 16, 2005 by Ian Muldoon