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Chris Byars: Photos in Black, White and Gray

Last heard leading an octet, Chris Byars pares down to a foursome for this hard-swinging bop date, an irresistible disc featuring material honed over nine years at New York’s Smalls nightclub. Byars’ playing is buoyantly lyrical, rendered with keen precision and verve. There’s a touch of Monk in his compositions, and Sacha Perry’s skipping piano brings it to the fore in tunes like the effervescent “Milton.” Bassist Ari Roland contributes vigorous bowed solos, and Andy Watson sounds downright jubilant at the drums.

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