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Don Byas: Midnight at Minton’s

First issued in 1973 on Onyx, this CD features tenorman Byas and trumpeter Joe Guyin, four different 1941 settings with Thelonious Monk, and unknown others. They back up Helen Humes on a lovely, relaxed “Stardust” and “Exactly Like You” with Humes et al. really swinging it along. Byas’ rich tone plays well off Guy’s rather tart sound. Monk, then 23, was part of the house band (led by Guy) and gets his best (and only on-mike) solo on the latter number. Both tracks are just over nine minutes and-with the enthusiastic audience participation-really put you on stage side. Ditto the 7:31 “Body and Soul” and the closing 6:28 “Indiana,” the only uptempo piece. Originally recorded by Jerry Newman on a portable disc recorder, the horns come through loud and clear; less so the others. Dan Morgenstern’s informative liner notes are an extra treat.

Originally Published