Don Byron – Ivey Divey
(Blue Note – 2004)
by Paula Edelstein
Fresh on the heels of a thrilling performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival, clarinetist/composer/arranger Don Byron & his Ivey-Divey Trio take to the road with stops across the USA. Featuring Jason Moran on piano and Jack DeJohnette on drums, the acclaimed clarinetist and his trio are the real buzz on the avant-garde acoustic jazz scene. This autumn audiences can expect to hear selections from Byron’s latest release on Blue Note titled Ivey-Divey. On this great recording, the trio digs into the Lester Young classic, which is a master class in jazz chemistry circa 2004.
A worthy successor in spirit to the tenor sax legend’s own bass-less mid-1940’s trio with Nat “King” Cole and Buddy Rich, Don Byron, ever intelligent in his musical offerings, avant-garde yet rhythmic and harmonic, plays such favorites as “Somebody Loves Me” in two different renditions, “I Want To Be Happy,” “I Cover The Waterfront,” and “I’ve Found A New Baby.” According to Byron, this is less of a repertory record than some of his others. It’s the first record that he’s made that really reveals the challenge of what he’s working on as a musician, what he’s exploring in his playing.
In addition to his own originals “Lefty Teachers At Home” and “Leopold, Leopold,” (a reference to Leopold Stokowski); the trio explores Miles Davis’ bluesy “Freddie Freeloader” and the electric jazz masterwork “In A Silent Way.” Byron also plays tenor sax on “The Goon Drag,” and turns in an amazing performance throughout Ivey-Divey.