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Jaki Byard: The Late Show: An Evening With Jaki Byard Live at the Keystone Korner, Vol. 3

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It’s born out of tradition and raised by the heart,” says Keystone Korner proprietor Todd Barkan in his introduction to Jaki Byard’s 1979 solo piano set at the San Francisco club. What would probably just be dismissible hyperbole in most cases is apt here: Byard, over the next hour, displays a fluency in the music, placing himself at the center of a virtual Venn diagram of jazz influences as he darts excitedly and proficiently between styles and moods. “This is the last set,” he tells the audience before getting started, “so you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

What does happen is music that’s never approached academically or with pretense or predictability; the heart Barkan noted is paramount at all times as Byard, comfortable in these surroundings-he played the venue regularly-deftly balances accessibility with experimentation and intricacy with an understated simplicity.

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