Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Celebrating Don Byas & Words of admiration for David S. Ware.

THIS BLOG- WE CELEBRATE DON BYAS. In honor of the tenor saxophonist’s 100th birthday, this RICO blog will celebrate his legacy.Born Carlos Wesley Byas in Muskogee, Oklahoma.“Don” earned his moniker as the leader of a Benny Carter-influenced band, “Don Carlos and his Collegiate Ramblers,” while he was still experimenting with the alto saxophone. He later moved to Los Angeles to perform along the West Coast with artists such as Lionel Hampton, Eddie Barefield, and Buck Clayton. In 1941, Count Basie placed Byas’ name on the map for New York jazz musicians and enthusiasts with a concert that was broadcast live on-air, and this led Basie to officially substitute him for Lester Young as the lead tenor saxophonist in his band. Around the same time, he gained a reputation for regularly performing in after hour jams with such pre-notoriety artists as Johnny Griffin, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk. Byas left Basie in 1943 to pursue a career as a leader and occasional sideman until 1946. While on a tour of Europe with Don Redman in the fall of that year, Byas made the somewhat spontaneous decision to stay there permanently, and soon after moved to Paris where his recording career took off. After officially parting ways with unfavorable working conditions in America, Byas spent much of the rest of his life leading quartets and quintets around France and the Netherlands, touring throughout the continent and performing at numerous festivals. Byas passed away in 1972 at the age of 59.
Don Byas Quartet 1946 ~ Cherokee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4uWYN2sULE This is a jam session , usually played fast (quarter note= 250 b.p.m. or more). The many long, sustained pitches and slow harmonic movement make it a vehicle for virtuosos desiring to display their technique by playing lots of very fast notes. The harmonic progression of the first eight measures is a variation of the descending series of changes found in songs like “I’m Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now” and the last eight measures of “Charleston” while the second eight measures of the first “A” do a turnaround that delays the resolution: I – II7 – ii7 – iiim7(b5) –VI7(9) – ii7 – V7(+5). The second “A” eliminates the four chords between the first ii7 and V7. The “B” section contains an interesting–and highly logical--descending progression that starts on biii9, which is the ii7 of the bII. This, in turn, becomes minor, functioning as the ii7 of the chord a step below it, and so on, until the V7 of the original tonic. In the original key, it is as follows: Dbm9 – Gb7 – B; Bm9– E7 – A; Am9 – D7 – G; Gm9 – C7 – F7(+5). This same kind of chord progression is heard in “Laura” and “How High the Moon.” Simple. Yes? At that tempo- you gotta work and shed. THIS VERSION....Will never get stale or be out dated. It is a benchmark in jazz playing- and should be heard by anyone with a vision about improvising. It sounds modern to this day! Happy birthday Mr. Byas and you are respected deeply for ever brother Scorpio.
ENTER....DON BYAS ; Don Byas Quartet 1946 ~ Cherokee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4uWYN2sULE The song’s A-A-B-A 64-bar form and unusual chord progressions and bridge are the basis for compositions by many jazz greats including clarinetist Buddy DeFranco (“Swinging the Indian”) and Charlie Parker (“Ko-Ko”).Parker’s interest in “Cherokee” was not just a fleeting fancy.
- I bring your attention to these facts and music- To share a celebratory genius. Don Byas. A player that should be in everyone's ears and any tenor player worth his salt should know and study deeply.
THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO DAVID S. WARE....I knew David from 1969 on. Very sad, and beyond words. David was one of the ones....really had something of his own. First time I heard him he was playing " Django"...in 1969 in his style.I first got to play with David S. Ware....in one of Charlie Mariano small ensembles at Berklee....It was amazing. Charlie would always play- and sometimes turn out the lights and we'd do crazy blowing and playing. David S. Ware would shake the walls playing and Charlie would be sitting on the floor smiling as David went to the cosmos. David and I used to talk about those times ALL the time!Those memory's for me are paramount and infinite.We had decades of friendship & I was humbled when he asked me to do liner notes for "Third Ear Recitation ". Really beyond any words now- he fought hard too. RIP David S. Ware.....you were an ocean of infinite inspiration in this life. THIS MAN....Was unified by spontaneous invention that are staggering in their complexity and intuitive concordance, skill, hard work,transcendental spirituality and conviction,he was an inspirational and improvisational tour de force of improvisation and mastery in the art form.One of the biggest tenor saxophone sounds in jazz- and a artist that also played stritch, saxello, flute and bass clarinet.David was a strong presence for jazz,humanity and enlightenment.Namaste my friend- RIP...... TILL NEXT WEEK ~ ~ ~ Be kind to each other and listen to David S. Ware and Don Byas. They are assets to this music, life and the legacy of all things in saxophone and music.~ ~ TIM PRICE
Go within. Hear the story of sunrise from the Sun itself. if there were no sunrise within I would have set long ago. ~ Rumi

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