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Blue Lights album for sale by Chris Byars was released Apr 21, 2009 on the SteepleChase Productions label. During a relatively brief career, alto saxophonist/composer Gigi Gryce was one of the promising contributors to hard bop, though he suddenly stopped playing and composing to take up music education. Though Gryce wrote a number of important works that have been frequently explored by other jazz artists, alto saxophonist Chris Byars chose to record seven of his lesser known works, in the process, discovering several previously unrecorded compositions, premiering one of them. Joined by two of his frequent collaborators, pianist Sacha Perry and bassist Ari Roland, plus trombonist John Mosca and drummer Stefan Schatz, Byars utilizes the composer's arrangements as written, though a bassline was not included in the charts. Gryce's enchanting "Al-Ghashiyah" is the undiscovered gem, blending a peppy opening and closing with an exotic central section. The leader switches to flute for the Latin-flavored introduction to "Sans Souci" (derived from the changes to "Out of Nowhere"), though the chart quickly shifts into a midtempo bop setting showcasing Perry, with the leader's father James Byars added on oboe in the ensemble sections. Byars is equally skilled on tenor in the driving blues "Blue Lights." Roland adds a taste of Paul Chambers with his solid arco technique on several tracks. This is an excellent tribute to an unjustly neglected jazz musician. ...See Full Description
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