Artist: Howard Riley

Date of Release: 14/09/2015

Catalogue no: SLAMCD2100

Label: SLAM

Price: £10

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Track Listing









Appearances by

Jaki Byard

In 1984 Howard Riley played a concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall with Jaki Byard – the live recording was released on vinyl by Leo Records (LR133) and later on CD (SLAMCD 215). The following year Jaki Byard returned to UK and the duo was re-united at Pendley Manor Jazz Festival; this much anticipated return was also recorded and 30 years later is now available for the first time on this new CD.
The programme is an eclectic mix of jazz standards, ballads and improvised music and it’s a great privilege for SLAM to present this classic performance.




01/03/2016 Andy Hamilton

As Howard Riley comments, Byard captures “the whole stylistic development of jazz…especially, stride piano” – like Monk, he made that early jazz style an ingredient of his modernist approach. What’s surprising is how Riley matches him in this approach – it’s jazziest playing I’ve heard by someone known as an avant-gardist. In piano duets, over-richness and clutter is hard to avoid, and it isn’t always here, but there’s a restrained interpretation of Round Midnight, some engaging free improvisations and insightful accounts of Straight No Chaser and Body and Soul. Byard doubles on alto on a pretty version of Tadd Dameron’s Lady Bird.
Andy Hamilton Jazz Journal March 2016


27/11/2015 Brian Morton

Something of the same happened when
Riley collaborated a couple of decades
later with the visiting US pianist Jaki Byard,
a one man scholar not just of American
demotic music but of the social movements
that sustained it. Byard was a city man who
played the country blues in his own way.
He worked the piano like a stem press or a
loom. The two pianists had worked together
before, at London’s Royal Festival Hall in
1984 and with bassist Mario Castronari and
drummer Tony Marsh on Thelonious Monk
themes on the Slam release Feathers For
Jaki. The Pendley Manor date hasn’t been
heard before. The pianos are in tune but
don’t sound lovely, and Byard turns that to
advantage with punchy, percussive accents
in otherwise lyrical passages. One of them
even slaps out piledriver accents on the
body of the piano during the improvised
“Open”, and Byard does his trademark
simultaneous piano and alto saxophone at
the end of the encore “Lady Bird”.
Piano duos can be disastrous (Cecil Taylor
and Mary Lou Williams) or they can be great
(Tracey and Tippett, Riley and Tippett, this
one) but there are few with this level of
scholarly interaction. Quotes and nudging
cues come thick and fast, but every track
has a clear and unrelenting process and
direction, and a shared understanding of
Monk as composer (a superfast “Straight,
No Chaser”) confirms the guild fraternalism.
Brian Morton Wire December 2015


14/09/2015 Bruce Lee Gallanter

HOWARD RILEY /JAKI BYARD - R & B (Slam 2100; UK) Fabulous duo featuring Howard Riley on piano and Jaki Byard on piano & alto sax. This was recorded live at the Pendley Manor Jazz Festivalin England in July of 1985. This is/was a rare meeting of two masters, an American legend, the late Jaki Byard, who worked with Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk and Booker Ervin with one of the UK's finest pianists, Howard Riley, who has more than thirty discs of solo, duo and trio music and who has worked with Barry Guy, Keith Tippett, Elton Dean and is a ember of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
This duo has a couple of previous discs on the Leo and Slam labels, both highly praised. Here they cover mostly standards like "Round Midnight", "Straight No Chaser", "Lady Bird" and "Body and Soul" as well as a couple of duo improvisations. Stunning! We got a dozen of these in earlier this week and half are already gone from curious walk-in customers. -
BLG/DMG https://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-gb/suite


12/09/2015 Vittorio Lo Conte

Nel 1984 due pianisti, l´inglese Howard Riley e l´afroamericano Jaki Byard, diedero un concerto al London´s Royal Festival Hall. La performance fu pubblicata allora dalla Leo Records su vinile e successivamente dalla Slam di George Halsam. L´anno dopo i due pianisti si incontrarono ancora, Jaki Byard era di nuovo in giro in UK, e così fu tenuto un nuovo concerto dei due al Pendley Manor Jazz Festival, presentato ora su CD. La musica dei due ovviamente è senza tempo mentre eseguono standard famosi, tranne Open di Riley, un brano più moderno, aperto, in cui il collega americano si trova comunque a proprio agio. Il concerto si apre con Body and Soul e già si nota come si trovino perfettamente a proprio agio, empatici l´uno per l´altro, così che quando durante l´improvvisazione appare il tema di Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=24062#.VfPcLPlVikq

In 1984, two pianists, english Howard Riley el'afroamericano Jaki Byard, gave a concert at London's Royal Festival Hall. The performance was then published by Leo Records on vinyl and later by George Haslam SLAM. One year later the two pianists met again, Jaki Byard was back on the streets in the UK, and so it was again held a concert for two at Pendley Manor Jazz Festival, presented now on CD. The music of the two is obviously no time while performing standard famous, except Open, a song more modern, open, in which fellow American is still comfortable. The concert opens with Body and Soul and already we see that they are perfectly at ease, empathetic each with the other one, so that when during improvisation appears the theme of


01/09/2015 Robert D. Rusch

I will never ignore a recording by pianist HOWARD RILEY as there will always be something
of interest in it. Even more so I’d never ignore a record with JAKI BYARD although I was often
disappointed with Byard issues as I felt his talent and range was rarely properly produced on record.
Riley and Byard previously recorded together in 1984 and I remember being less than enamored with
the result. But than again,The same goes for the set Byard recorded with Earl Hines. So when I saw
this release, R&B [Slam cd 2100] by the duo, I figured it was a cull now getting attention. Not so,
this live set from the Manor Jazz Festival [7/7/85] is top quality. Riley seems to have zoned into the
Byard style(s) and the two have wonderful fun on improvs and standards [Body And Soul/ Round Midnight/
Straight No Chaser]. As an added trait Byard also plays his alto sax with piano on an encore of “Lady Bird”.
Byard was a distinctive alto player and while here it is not his best example, I think it is an indication of how
good he felt the circumstances were. Here then is the Byard I love. Nothing cull-ish about this.
Robert D. Rusch, September 2015 Papatamus


31/08/2015 Guido Festinese

Come si suol dire, sembra ieri, ma dal 1985 sono passai tre decenni. Il tempo per fortuna aggiusta molte cose, ad esempio la prospettiva storica. All'epoca il concerto qui riportato che incrociava le giovani energie pianistiche dell'inglese Howard Riley con quelle più mature del maestro Jacky Byard, famoso per aver prestato il suo pianoforte onnisciente sulla storia dei tasti jazz a Eric Dolphy e Charles Mingus, appariva come un fatto di routine, o quasi. Oggi, al riascolto, è un piccolo miracolo. Solo cinque brani (due dal repertorio più noto di Monk: Round Midnight e Straight, No Chaser), dilatati fin al quarto d'ora e oltre nel concerto tenutosial Pendley Manor Jazz Festival: segno che i due, già incontratisi in situazione simile l'anno prima, avevano affilato le armi. Si parte sempre con assoluta circospezione, esplorando e riesplorando il tema esposto, poi via con una stura di giochi armonici, cluster, dissonanze piazzate ad arte, echi formidabili delle vertigini antiche “stride” che Byard padroneggiava come quasi nessun altro. In coda Byard alza le mani dal piano, ed imbraccia il sax contralto, che suonava con grazia acerba: ne nasce una deliziosa Lady Bird. (Guido Festinese) http://www.discoclub65.it/jazz/archivio-mainmenu-42/6180-howard-rileyjaki-byard-rnb.html

As they say, it seems like yesterday, but since 1985 have spent three decades. The time for luck adjusts many things, such as the historical perspective. At the time the concert here reported that crossed the young energies of English pianist Howard Riley with the more mature of the master Jacky Byard, famous for having lent his piano-knowing about the history of jazz keys to Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus, appeared as a done routinely, or almost. Today, at rehearsal, is a small miracle. Only five songs (two from the repertoire best known Monk - Round Midnight and Straight, No Chaser), dilated from the quarter-hour and over in concert tenutosial Pendley Manor Jazz Festival: a sign that the two, who met already in the similar situation a year before, they had sharp weapons. It always starts with absolute caution, exploring the theme and re-exploring exposed, then off with floodgates of games harmonic clusters, artfully placed dissonances, echoes formidable vertigo ancient "stride" Byard mastered that like almost no other. Queued Byard raises his hands from the floor, and pointed his alto saxophone, playing with grace sour: I was born a lovely Lady Bird.


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