plays the music of Jaki Byard
Wednesday June 13th
Trumpets Jazz Club
6 Depot Square
Montclair, NJ 07043
On Wednesday June 13th, Diane Moser's Composers Big Band dives into the big band music of Jaki Byard. Mr. Byard, who died in 1999 and who would have been 90 on June 15th, was considered one of our most ingenious and influential pianists in the history of Jazz. It is unusual that we feature the music of a composer who has passed on. We featured Oliver Nelson's music twice, back when we were in residence at Tierney's Tavern, and we have a few Mingus charts in the book, but there are two connections to Jaki Byard in the band that makes this a special night. Our lead alto saxophonist Ed Xiques played with Jaki and his big band in the 1950's in Boston and I studied with Jaki in the late 80's while attending graduate school at the Manhattan School of Music. Most of these arrangements have not been played or heard since before his death, so this indeed will be a very special night.
Since Jaki's death in 1999, I have been searching for his big band music, but each lead would end up with nothing, until this past summer. I was attending a performance of the Hudson Valley Jazz Workshop in Hudson, NY when a chance encounter with saxophonist John Sergenian led to a discussion about the music of Jaki Byard. John had also played in Jaki's big band in the 1950's along side Ed Xiques. When I told him of my years of searching, he told me he had several of the big band charts, and would be happy to share them with us. I remember grabbing John, who I had only just met, giving him a big hug and a kiss and told him I couldn't believe that we were finally going to get to play this music!
Stay tuned for more memories...but in the meantime...here are some links for you...
and a recent concert of Jaki's big band music by the New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra...along with a recording of the performance
Also, if any of you have memories that you would like to share...send them to me and I will post them on my blog.