05 August, 2011

Donald Byrd - Off To The Races (1958) (RVG)

Donald Byrd - Off To The Races (1958)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 280MB
Blue Note | RVG 24-bit remaster 2006
From the crackling opening notes of "Lover Come Back to Me," it's clear that Off to the Races is one of Donald Byrd's most invigorating sessions of the late '50s. Working with a stellar supporting band -- Jackie McLean (alto sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Pepper Adams (bari sax), Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums) -- Byrd turns in one of his strongest recordings of the era. Throughout the album, Byrd switches between hard bop, ballads, laid-back blues, and soul-jazz. Two of the numbers are standards, one is a cover, and three are Byrd originals, but what matters is the playing. Over the course of the album, Byrd proves he has matured greatly as a soloist, capable of sweet, melodic solos on the slower numbers and blistering runs of notes on the faster songs. McLean is just as vigorous and lyrical, contributing some fine moments to the record, as do Adams and Kelly. There's nothing surprising about Off to the Races; it's simply a set of well-performed, enjoyable hard bop, but sometimes that's enough.

-1. "Lover, Come Back to Me" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Sigmund Romberg) - 6:52
-2. "When Your Love Has Gone" - 5:04
-3. "Sudwest Funk" - 6:53
-4. "Paul's Pal" (Sonny Rollins) - 7:08
-5. "Off to the Races" - 6:36
-6. "Down Tempo" - 5:19
All compositions by Donald Byrd except as indicated
Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ on December 21, 1958.

*Donald Byrd - trumpet,
*Jackie McLean - alto saxophone (tracks 1 & 3-6)
*Pepper Adams - baritone saxophone (tracks 1 & 3-6)
*Wynton Kelly - piano
*Sam Jones - bass
*Art Taylor - drums


durmoll said...

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