Jaki Byard

~ Person


A talented multi-instrumentist who gained recognition playing piano, Mr Byard recorded with Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus and Sam Rivers, among others.
Some of his work is to be found on Prestige.

Annotation last modified on 2007-01-23 16:31 UTC.


John Arthur "Jaki" Byard (June 15, 1922 – February 11, 1999) was an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger who also played tenor and alto saxophones, among several other instruments. He was known for his eclectic style, incorporating everything from ragtime and stride to free jazz.

Byard played with Maynard Ferguson in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was a member of bands led by Charles Mingus for several years, including on several studio and concert recordings. The first of his recordings as a leader was in 1960, but, despite being praised by critics, his albums and performances did not gain him much wider attention. In his 60-year career, Byard recorded at least 35 albums as leader, and more than 50 as a sideman. Byard's influence on the music comes from his combining of musical styles during performance, and his parallel career in teaching.

From 1969 Byard was heavily involved in jazz education: he began teaching at the New England Conservatory and went on to work at several other music institutions, as well as having private students. He continued performing and recording, mainly in solo and small group settings, but he also led two big bands – one made up of some of his students, and the other of professional musicians. His death, from a single gunshot while in his home, remains an unsolved mystery.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1968 Freedom Together! Jaki Byard 1
1973 There'll Be Some Changes Made Jaki Byard 1
1979 Family Man Jaki Byard 1
1982 Improvisations Ran Blake / Jaki Byard 1
1982 To Them - To Us Jaki Byard 1
1985 Phantasies Jaki Byard And The Apollo Stompers 1
1988 Blues for Smoke Jaki Byard 1
1989 Foolin' Myself Jaki Byard Trio 1
1994 Out Front! Jaki Byard 1
1996 Hi-Fly Jaki Byard 4
1997 Here's Jaki Jaki Byard 1
1998 July in Paris Jaki Byard Trio 1
1999 The Jaki Byard Experience Jaki Byard 2
2000 Solo Piano / Jaki Byard With Strings Jaki Byard 1
2005 Parisian Solos Jaki Byard 1
2006 Sunshine of My Soul Jaki Byard 1
2007 Sunshine of My Soul: Live at the Keystone Corner Jaki Byard 1
Empirical Jaki Byard 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Volume Seventeen Jaki Byard 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
On the Spot! Jaki Byard 1

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