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Don Byas


One of the biggest of most tenor players, Don Byas’ decision to go permanently to European countries in 1946 led to him getting vastly underrated in jazz background books. His understanding of chords rivalled Coleman Hawkins, and, because of the similarity in shades, Byas can be viewed as an extension from the elder tenor. He used many top golf swing rings, including those of Lionel Hampton (1935), Buck Clayton (1936), Don Redman, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk (1939-1940), & most significantly Count number Basie (1941-1943). A sophisticated golf swing stylist, Byas’ playing appeared toward bop. He jammed at Minton’s Playhouse in the first ’40s, made an appearance on 52nd Road with Dizzy Gillespie, and performed a set of spectacular duets with bassist Slam Stewart in a 1944 City Hall concert. After documenting thoroughly during 1945-1946 (frequently as a innovator), Byas visited European countries with Don Redman’s music group, and (apart from a 1970 appearance in the Newport Jazz Event) never returned towards the U.S. He resided in France, holland, and Denmark; frequently appeared at celebrations; and worked continuously. Whenever American players had been touring, they might require Byas, who experienced opportunities to execute with Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie, Jazz in the Philharmonic (including a documented tenor struggle with Hawkins and Stan Getz), Artwork Blakey, and (on the 1968 documenting) Ben Webster. Byas also documented frequently in the 1950s, but was mainly forgotten within the U.S. by enough time of his loss of life.

Quick Facts

Full Name Don Byas
Date Of Birth October 21, 1912
Died August 24, 1972, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Profession Saxophonist
Nationality American
Music Groups Count Basie Orchestra
Music Songs Estranha forma de vida, Cansaço, Povo que lavas no rio, A Night In Tunisia, Lover Man, Billie's Bounce, Coimbra, Body And Soul, Summertime, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Savoy Jam Party, Part 2, Georgia on My Mind, Solidão, Rua do capelão, The Man I Love, Just a Gigalo, Laura, Just One of Those Things, I Remember Clifford, On The Sunny Side Of The Street, Old Man River, London Donnie, Night and Day, Blue And Sentimental, They Say It's Wonderful, To Each His Own, Byas-A-Drink, Jackie My Little Cat, Cherokee, Sunday, Stardust, Tenderly
Albums A Tribute to Cannonball, Midnight at Minton's, Ben Webster Meets Don Byas, On Blue Star, New York Paris 1938-1955, The Complete 1946-1954 Paris Recordings (Bonus Track Version), Autumn Leaves, Be-Bop, Moonglow (Remastered), Moon Nocturne Vol.3, Bill Coleman, Don Byas: Live in Lausanne 1949, Super Session, Don Byas Selected Hits Vol. 1, The Ultimate Jazz Archive (Vol. 23), Night and Day (1932 - 1947), Historical Jazz Recordings: 1944-1945, The Best Of Byas 1938-49, Don Byas Selected Hits Vol. 3, Linger Awhile, Jazz Legends (Légendes du Jazz), Vol. 05/32: Don Byas - Amoureusement Vôtre, Don Byas Selected Hits Vol. 2, Don Byas, Riffin' and Jivin', Complete Jazz Series 1952 - 1953, Moon Nocturne Vol.4, Moon Nocturne Vol.2, Complete Jazz Series 1946, Melody in Swing 1941-1945 (Jazz Archives No. 141), Historical Jazz Recordings: 1946-1951, Riviera Blues (The Complete Recordings), Essential Jazz Masters, The Don Byas Collection 1939-61, The Fabulous Jazz Collection, That's What I Need (Remastered), Amoureusement Vôtre, When the Sun Comes Out, A Night In Tunesia, It's All About Jazz Music, Don Byas Selected Favorites, Moon Nocturne Vol.1, Americans in Europe, Jazz in Paris: Laura, Fado, Encontro Com Don Byas, Tenor Giant, With Don Byas, Jazz in Paris: En ce temps-là, Jazz Ballads - 5, Les idoles du Jazz : Don Byas, Vol. 1, Don Byas Selected Hits Vol. 4, The Jazz Masters (Rare Masterworks)

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1 Dynamic tenor saxophonist of the 1940s, a great improviser, who , nonetheless considered himself strongly influenced by the style of Art Tatum. He worked for some of the great orchestras of the time, including Lionel Hampton at the Paradise Club in Los Angeles, Lucky Millinder, Don Redman and Andy Kirk. Replaced Lester Young in Count Basie's band in 1941, but left two years later to play bebop in New York with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Left for Europe in 1946 and spent the remainder of his life playing at European jazz festivals and in small clubs in Paris and in the Netherlands to appreciative audiences.



Trapped Ashes 2006 performer: "Fall On Lennox Ave", "Bullcorn"
Joe Gould's Secret 2000 performer: "They Say It's Wonderful"
Vale Abraão 1993 performer: "Tenderly"



Big Ben: Ben Webster in Europe 1967 Documentary short
Take Me Back, Baby 1941 Short Himself - Sax Player
Readin', 'Ritin', and Rhythm 1939 Short Himself

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