Live at Keystone Korner: Tommy Flanagan and Jaki Byard, The Magic of 2
(Review of Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club)
2013 Resonance Records
Tommy Flanagan on Piano
Jaki Byard on Piano
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 1, 2013
This new CD, produced by Todd Barkan, Zev Feldman, and George Klabin, mastering by Fran Gala, was originally recorded live at Keystone Korner in San Francisco in 1982. This was Barkan’s renowned club, see a link above to a review of a book about Keystone Korner. Jaki Byard and Tommy Flanagan are heard on duo and solo piano tracks playing incomparable renditions of ballads by Strayhorn, Ellington, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Cole Porter, and more. There’s even an introductory track with Barkan greeting his club’s crowd, an appreciative and warm audience of fans.
#2 – Scrapple from the Apple - Composed by Charlie Parker. This piano duo track has Flanagan introducing the melody and playing a solo, followed by Byard’s solo and Byard’s finale. The advantage of a live audience recording is that the applause signaled the change of pianists in their solo shifts. Flanagan’s solo was more straightforward with Byard’s exuding fragmented twists and turns, a dreamy and contemporary reincarnation of the original theme. This duo played for jazz history, and thankfully Todd Barkan was able to introduce this experience anew to today’s vibrant jazz community.
#4 – Satin Doll - Composed by Duke Ellington. Here, Flanagan takes the top melody, followed by Byard on first solo, and Flanagan back for second solo. This is a seamless, scintillating song, played by both artists with warmth and ebullience. After listening carefully for the artist shifts, Byard adds some atonal, improvisational flourishes, with bright chordal concepts, and Flanagan brings out the magic of Ellington’s tune. Together they enhance this ballad with an amalgam of refined luxuriance.
#5 - Something To Live For - Composed by Billy Strayhorn. This Flanagan solo has sparkle and esprit. He embellishes his interpretation with shifting tempos and extending notes with treble ornamentations. This suave, urbane track morphs in style from salon to stage, with instantaneous variations in melodic and rhythmic presentation.
#9 - Sunday - Composed by Miller-Cohn-Styne-Kreuger. This Byard solo has striking spontaneity and shape, with the ballad turned inside out and back together. Byard takes generous liberties in accent of phrases, while this ballad is lovingly performed in enhanced and expanded virtuosity.