CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

AmazonUK   AmazonUS   MDT


The Complete 1946-1954
Paris Recordings

Solid Jazz SJR 36635



1. Gloria
2. I'm Beginning To See The Light
3. Rosetta
4. Ain't Misbehavin'
5. Body And Soul
6. Blue And Sentimental
7. All The Things You Are [Fast Version]
8. All The Things You Are [Slow Version]
9. Yesterdays
10. Tenderly
11. C'est vous Chérie
12. Trop Jeune
13. Vanity
14. Because Of You
15. Chloe
16. And So To Sleep Again
17. Infidèle (Cry)
18. Slow Coach (Slow Poke)
19. Un Amour Pleurait
20. This Is Always
21. A Cottage For Sale
22. En ce Temps-là
23. Là-Bas
24. Somebody Loves Me
25. I Cover The Waterfront
26. Don't Blame Me
Don Byas - Tenor sax, plus:
Track 1: Billy Taylor - Piano
Ted Sturgis - Bass
Buford Oliver - Drums
Tracks 2-6: Billy Taylor - Piano
Jean Bouchety - Bass
Buford Oliver - Drums
Tracks 7-9: Bernard Peiffer - Piano
Jean Bouchety - Bass
Roger Paraboschi - Drums
Tracks 10-15: Maurice Vander - Piano
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Benny Bennett - Drums
Tracks 16-19: Art Simmons - Piano
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Pierre Lemarchand - Drums
Tracks 20-26: Art Simmons - Piano
Joe Benjamin - Bass
Bill Clarke - Drums
1. Old Folks At Home
2. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
3. Riviera Blues (Blues à la Don)
4. You Can Depend On Me
5. That Old Feeling
6. Laura
7. Wheel Of Fortune
8. Please Monsieur Soleil
9. Roses Of Picardie
10. L'enfant et la Rose
11. I Heard A Rhapsody
12. Pleurs
13. Remember My Forgotten Man
14. If I Had You
15. Lover Man
16. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
17. O.W.
18. Mary's Waltz
19. Lullaby Of The Leaves
20. Moonglow
21. Why
22. New Musical Express
23. G.D.B.
Don Byas - Tenor sax, plus:
Tracks 1-6: Art Simmons - Piano
Joe Benjamin - Bass
Bill Clarke- Drums
Tracks 7-12 : Marcel Bianchi - Guitar
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Benny Bennett - Drums
Tracks 13-16: Martial Solal - Piano
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Benny Bennett - Drums
Tracks 17-22: Mary Lou Williams - Piano
Alvin "Buddy" Banks - Bass
Gérard Pochonet - Drums
Track 23: Martial Solal - Piano
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Pierre Lemarchand - Drums
1. Time On My Hands
2. Blues For Don Carlos
3. Sweet Lorraine
4. April In Paris
5. Don't Blame Me
6. Unknown Original
7. Makin' Whoopee
8. I Should Care
9. Beryl Booker's Byased Blues
10. These Foolish Things
11. Humoresque
12. Stormy Weather
13. Riffin' And Jivin'
14. I Can't Explain
15. Blues For Panassié
16. Summertime
17. It's The Talk Of The Town
18. Stardust
19. A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody
20. Ol' Man River
21. Flamingo
22. The Man I Love
23. Georgia On My Mind
24. Over The Rainbow
Don Byas - Tenor sax, plus:
Tracks 1-6: Martial Solal - Piano
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Pierre Lemarchand - Drums
Tracks 7-9: Beryl Booker - Piano, vocals
Bonnie Wetzel - Bass
Elaine Leighton - Drums
Tracks 10-15: Jacques Diéval - Piano
Jean-Jacques Tilché - Guitar
Lucien Simoens - Bass
Armand Molinetti - Drums
Tracks 16-21: Art Simmons - Piano
Jean-Jacques Tilché - Guitar
Roger Grasset - Bass
Claude Marty - Drums
Tracks 22-24: Maurice Vander - Piano
Jean-Pierre Sasson - Guitar
Popof Medvedko - Bass
Benny Bennett - Drums


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

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: