Jaki Byard performs during a 1965 jazz piano workshop in Germany.
Jaki Byard, piano
Reggie Workman, bass
Alan Dawson, drums
John Arthur Byard, born in Worcester, Massachusetts on June 15, 1922, was a pianist with a wide stylistic range possessing the ability to play ragtime, free jazz, and everything in between.
In addition he was a talented composer as well as a multi-instrumentalist who could perform proficiently on trumpet and various saxophones.
Jaki as he became known started his career as a jazz musician when he was sixteen with bands led by Freddy Bates and Doc Kentross.
Both his musical understanding and abilities continued to develop of during the early 1940s apart from jazz with the additional study of classical compositions by Stravinsky and Chopin.
In the early '50s Jaki Byard formed a formed a bebop group with Joe Gordon and Sam Rivers in Boston before moving to New York where he worked with Maynard Ferguson, and more extensively with Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy through the 1960s. He would also record a string of albums as leader for the Prestige label during the period.
In later years Jaki held teaching positions at the New England Conservatory, the Hartt School of Music, the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the Manhattan School of Music.
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