NOTEWORTHY: In 1995 clarinetist/composer Don Byron took jazz lovers on a unique journey w/Music for Six Musicians


As with Don Byron’s journeys into klezmer (on Plays the Music of Mickey Katz) and swing (on Bug Music, there’s nothing predictable about this 1995 take on Latin jazz. Byron combines relaxed, sometimes even languid, rhythmic backdrops with complex compositional structures and then forges surreal links with a collection of names from the news. There’s nothing overtly programmatic about his multifaceted take on the Los Angeles riots–or the Clarence ThomasAnita Hill affair or Al Sharpton; perhaps the connection exists between Byron’s own quixotic sense of form and the impossibility of making sense of the people and events he invokes.

Overall, this album is one of Byron’s most arresting outings as a composer, with the largely unheralded sidemen, including cornetist Graham Haynes and pianist Edsel Gomez, fleshing out an original musical conception. Byron’s mercurial clarinet is a brilliant presence throughout, while frequent associate Bill Frisell, adds an electrified touch with his guest spot on “I’ll Chill on the Marley Tapes.” —Stuart Broomer | Amazon

As time allows, take this gem “MUSIC FOR SIX MUSICIANS” for a spin featuring Don Byron

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