Sunday, July 31, 2016

Don Byas Quartet - The Complete 1946-1956 Paris Recordings

In 1946, tenor-saxist Don Byas went to Europe on tour with Don Redman's band. Like many of his compatriots, he took up residence in Paris, later moving to other parts of Europe where he resided until his death in 1972. This triple-CD set includes all the quartet recordings he made for French labels between 1946 and 1954. The last 15 tracks are some of his recordings which expand the quartet to a quintet by adding a guitar.
Don Byas got his first big break when he followed Lester Young into Count Basie's orchestra in 1941. His first idol was not Lester Young but Coleman Hawkins, although he later claimed that he modelled his playing on the seamless style of Art Tatum. He stayed with Basie until 1943 and then mingled for a time with such beboppers as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
There is little sign of bebop in these three CDs. The repertoire consists mainly of jazz standards, some French songs, and a few originals by Byas. Don had a flowing, legato style which may well have been influenced by Art Tatum, although Byas is less flowery than Tatum. He spins long threads of improvisation from his tenor sax, seemingly never at a loss for an idea. This can get samey over the course of 73 tracks, especially as Byas's tenor is the predominant instrument on most tracks. An exception is "Rosetta", which is mainly a feature for drummer Buford Oliver. And some of the pianists get a chance for good solos, such as Billy Taylor in "Ain't Misbehavin'", Maurice Vander in "Because of You", and Martial Solal in "Blues for Don Carlos" (Byas's first name was originally Carlos).
The dangers of sameness can be avoided by not trying to listen to all three discs in one sitting. Selective listening can lead you to appreciate Don's mellow tone and endless invention.
Tony Augarde

Source :

Don Byas
The Complete
Paris Recordings


Cd. 1

1 Gloria (Byas)  3:07
2 I'm Beginning To See The Light (Ellington, George, James, Hodges)  2:24
3 Rosetta (Hines, Woods)  2:48
4 Ain't Misbehavin' (Waller, Brooks, Razaf)  2:45
5 Body And Soul (Eyman, Sour, Eyton, Green)  2:57
6 Blue And Sentimental (Basie, Livingston, David)  2:43
7 All The Things You Are [Fast Version] (Kern, Hammerstein)  2:41
8 All The Things You Are [Slow Version] (Kern, Hammerstein)  2:47
9 Yesterdays (Kern, Harbach)  2:30
10 Tenderly (Gross, Lawrence)  3:28
11 C'est vous Chérie (Byas)  2:56
12 Trop Jeune (Lippman, Dee)  3:30
13 Vanity (Manus, Bierman, Wood)  2:52
14 Because Of You (Hammerstein, Wilkinson)  3:32
15 Chloe (Kahn, Moret)  2:56
16 And So To Sleep Again (Marsala, Skylar)  3:27
17 Infidèle (Cry) (Kohlman)  3:27
18 Slow Coach (Slow Poke) (?)  2:41
19 Un Amour Pleurait (Kohlman)  3:02
20 This Is Always (Price, King, Stewart)  2:49
21 A Cottage For Sale (Robinson, Conley)  2:49
22 En ce Temps-là (Trénet)  2:32
23 Là-Bas (Dudan, Barclay)  2:40
24 Somebody Loves Me (Gershwin, MacDonald, DeSylva)  2:52
25 I Cover The Waterfront (Green, Heyman)  4:04
26 Don't Blame Me (McHugh, Fields)  3:41


Cd. 2

1 Old Folks At Home (Foster)  3:17
2 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Kern, Harbach)  2:56
3 Riviera Blues (Blues à la Don) (Byas)  3:02
4 You Can Depend On Me ()  2:28
5 That Old Feeling (Hines, Carpenter, Dunlap)  2:26
6 Laura (Raksin, Mercer)  4:15
7 Wheel Of Fortune (Benjamin, Weiss)  2:53
8 Please Monsieur Soleil (Frank, Getzov)  3:25
9 Roses Of Picardie (Weatherly, Wood)  2:58
10 L'enfant et la Rose (Breta)  2:41
11 I Heard A Rhapsody (Baker, Fragos, Gasparre)  3:48
12 Pleurs (Byas)  3:02
13 Remember My Forgotten Man (Dubin, Warren)  3:17
14 If I Had You (Campbell, Connelly)  3:36
15 Lover Man (Davis, Ramirez, Sherman)  3:58
16 I Can't Give You Anything But Love (McHugh, Fields)  2:47
17 O.W. (Williams)  5:09
18 Mary's Waltz (Williams)  2:56
19 Lullaby Of The Leaves (Petkere, Young)  4:10
20 Moonglow (Hudson, Mills, DeLange)  3:53
21 Why (Chappelle, Smith, Taylor)  4:19
22 New Musical Express (Williams)  3:24
23 G.D.B. (Alfeay)  3:55


Cd. 3

1 Time On My Hands (Youmans, Adamson, Gordon)  2:27
2 Blues For Don Carlos (Byas)  3:51
3 Sweet Lorraine (Burwell, Parish)  3:35
4 April In Paris (Duke, Harburg)  2:52
5 Don't Blame Me (McHugh, Fields)  3:03
6 Unknown Original (Byas)  2:53
7 Makin' Whoopee (Donaldson, Kahn)  5:00
8 I Should Care (Stordahl, Weston, Cahn)  4:39
9 Beryl Booker's Byased Blues (Booker)  4:51
10 These Foolish Things (Maschwitz, Strachey, Link)  3:05
11 Humoresque (Dvorak)  2:52
12 Stormy Weather (Arlen, Koehler)  3:11
13 Riffin' And Jivin' (Byas)  2:49
14 I Can't Explain (Byas)  2:29
15 Blues For Panassié (Byas)  2:52
16 Summertime (Gershwin, Heyward)  2:48
17 It's The Talk Of The Town (Livingston, Neiburg, Symes)  3:26
18 Stardust (Carmichael, Parish)  3:16
19 A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody (Berlin)  2:56
20 Ol' Man River (Kern, Hammerstein)  2:46
21 Flamingo (Anderson, Grouya)  2:54
22 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:43
23 Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael, Gorrell)  2:49
24 Over The Rainbow (Arlen, Harburg)  2:46


[Cd. 1, # 1]
Don Byas - ts
Billy Taylor - p
Ted Sturgis - b
Buford Oliver - dr
Recorded in Paris ; December 4, 1946
[Cd. 1, # 2-6]
Same as above, except
Jean Bouchety - b, replaces Sturgis
Recorded in Paris ; January 6, 1947
[Cd. 1, # 7-9]
Don Byas - ts
Bernard Peiffer - p
Jean Bouchety - b
Roger Paraboschi - dr
Recorded in Paris ; January 4 & 5, 1949
[Cd. 1, # 10-15]
Don Byas - ts
Maurice Vander - p
Pierre Michelot - b
Benny Bennett - dr
Recorded in Paris ; November 9, 1951
[Cd. 1, # 16-19]
Don Byas - ts
Art Simmons - p
Pierre Michelot - b
Pierre Lemarchand - dr
Recorded in Paris ; February 6, 1952
[Cd. 1, # 20-26 & Cd. 2, # 1-6]
Don Byas - ts
Art Simmons - p
Joe Benjamin - b
Bill Clarke - dr
Recorded in Paris ; March 16, 1952 [Cd. 1, #  20-23] ; & April 10, 1952
[Cd. 2, # 7-12]
Don Byas - ts
Marcel Bianchi - g
Pierre Michelot - b
Benny Bennett - dr
Recorded in Paris ; May 21, 1952
[Cd. 2, # 13-16]
Don Byas - ts
Martial Solal - p
Pierre Michelot - b
Benny Bennett - dr
Recorded in Paris ; November 24, 1953
[Cd. 2, # 17-22]
Don Byas - ts
Mary Lou Williams - p
Alvin "Buddy" Banks - b
Gérard Pochonet - dr
Recorded in Paris ; December 2, 1953
[Cd. 2, # 23 & Cd. 3, # 1-6]
Sam as [# 13-16], except
Pierre Lemarchand - dr, replaces Bennett
Recorded in Paris ; December 8, 1953
[Cd. 3, # 7-9]
Don Byas - ts
Beryl Booker - p & vc
Bonnie Wetzel - b
Elaine Leighton - dr
Recorded in Paris ; February 1954
[Cd. 3, # 10-15]
Don Byas - ts
Jacques Diéval - p
Jean-Jacques Tilché - g
Lucien Simoens - b
Armand Molinetti - dr
Recorded in Paris ; June 12, 1947
[Cd. 3, # 16-21]
Don Byas - ts
Art Simmons - p
Jean-Jacques Tilché - g
Roger Grasset - b
Claude Marty - dr
Recorded in Paris ; July 4, 1950
[Cd. 3, # 22-24]
Don Byas - ts
Maurice Vander - p
Jean-Pierre Sasson - g
Popof Medvedko - b
Benny Bennett - dr
Recorded in Paris ; April 19, 1951


Otis Foster said...

Greatly expands my Byas library. Thnx melanchthon and welcome back

Dante A. said...

Thanks a Lot for this All in One

Luis said...

Thank you Melanchthon. As usual in you, this is a great post.

stringbender said...

This looks amazing. Thanks very much.

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank you for this

hepcat said...

Many thanks for this one.

Albertito Jazz said...

Great! Muchísimas gracias, Melanchthon!

neil said...

A fitting companion to 'Complete American Small Group Recordings [1944-45]'; many, many thanks, mel...

AmyBRAINS said...

You are the greatest, Melanchthon.

poppachubby said...

A real zinger Mel... nicely done!

Mike said...

More great stuff! Now to sort through the Don Byas collection to see what I have and don't have. Thanks!

lucky5 said...

Much appreciated, Mel!

glinka21 said...

Thanks, Mel! Very welcome.

cvllos said...

Melanchthon is back!
And with a great musician!
Congratulations and thank you!

Greeny said...

Thank you very much, Mel, for that wonderful Don Byas!
Good to have you back!

jose arboleda said...

Thank you, José.

Rick said...

Thanks for the great sounds and re-ups. Happy listening to all.

The Jackal said...

Wow, Mel what an archive ! Don Byas is such an important link between swing and bebop, the reviewers notes are on the money, any aspiring sax player should transcribe one of Dons solos to see the breadth of harmony and endless creative ideas.And yes it is too much to be taken in large doses

adakun said...

Thank you very much Mel for these goodies.

Kneigh said...

WOW!! Great Byas set, Melanchthon!! As The Jackal noted, the reviewer was right on. This is a fine presentation. Welcome back too, sir!!

poppachubby said...

Mel I am really enjoying these and I wanted to tell you how thankful I am that you put so much effort into tagging everything. Such an important step for me and aside from tagging the artwork I don't even review your tags anymore. Consistent and relevant... THANK YOU!!!

cvllos said...

Well, Melanchthon, I need to subscribe those wise impressions of Poppachubby and Tha Jackal. Besides, Byas' works keep my admiration for a long time! Congratulations & thank you once more for your dedication on all these shares.

Philo said...

I had some of these tracks, but I'm thrilled to have the entire collection with documentation. Wonderful stuff! Thanks Mel.

Tibau said...


duck said...

Hi Mel,
Adding my thanks also for this important set.

jazzcat1228 said...

Wow! An outstanding share! Thank you so much, Mel. You continue to amaze and impress with the great music and effort you share with all of us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

jose luis said...

Thank you.

stringbender said...

Fabulous. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for a top post! There seems to be something wrong with the links of CD2. Please check second link of CD2 - its extension is .001 - I renamed it to .002 after downloading, but still, I get an error after track 10. i.e, only the first 10 tracks can be extracted.

Melanchthon said...

You're right. I will post soon the correct link...

flyra said...

Thanks a lot! What's happening to the blog now and then? As for this particular post, I have to agree with anonymous: something is wrong with CD2 (second or first link)1

Antonio said...

Thank you

Melanchthon said...


cd. 1
cd. 2
cd. 3

JustPlainHip said...

Thank you very much!!!

deGallo said...

Outstanding! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Merci !


Prof. Yaffle said...

Many thanks. This fills a few gaps in my colledction.

hepcat said...

Many thanks, this is great;y aπpreciated.

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks Mel. Much appreciated.

sotise said...

a beautiful gem, i'm glad you reposted this,thank you!

Leon said...

Eres un monstruo.gracias

Washington said...

¡Esta sí que es otra joya, Melanchton!
Me traigo, si no te enojas...
Muchas grancias, estimado, y, otra vez, cordiales saludos

Kovina Kris said...

This increases my Don Byas collection by 100% as I had nothing by him as a leader. Thank you very much Mel!