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The Music of Jaki Byard
Boston, Massachusetts
Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 8:00 PM
Contributor: Ken Schaphorst
One of the reasons why I came to NEC as a student in 1980 was that I loved Jaki’s playing, and when I saw a picture in Down Beat of Jaki leading the Apollo Stompers at Michael’s Pub on Gainsborough Street, with a caption saying that the band included NEC students, the idea of studying with someone with his experience, intelligence, sense of humor, and ability to incorporate historical styles into fresh new playing was very compelling.
—Allan Chase ’81

While Jaki Byard is well established as one of the most ingenious and influential pianists in the history of jazz, his connection to big band music is less well known, largely because so little of it was commercially recorded. In the 1970s, Byard created the Apollo Stompers with NEC students, and took the group out for regular club dates. Later on, he used the same name for a group of veteran players he led on New York dates, as well as two commercial recordings.

Though the NEC group played for years every Wednesday night at Michael's Pub on Gainsborough Street, in addition to performing on campus, this music now exists primarily in audience and player memories, as well as any charts that have been preserved.

In tonight's concert, NEC jazz chair Ken Schaphorst leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a revival of Byard's Apollo Stompers sound. Byard originals include "Aluminum Baby," "Spanish Tinge #1," "Two Five One," "Up Jumps One," and "X-Stream." The group will also perform Byard's arrangements of "I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)," "God Bless the Child," "Satin Doll," "St. Thomas," and "Tricotism."

Joining the NEC student performers are pianists Anthony Coleman and Fred Hersch of the faculty, both of whom studied with Jaki Byard at NEC.
Program Click for more info
Byard: X Stream
Available Recordings
X Stream
Byard: Spanish Tinge #1
Available Recordings
Spanish Tinge #1
Byard: Up Jumps One
Available Recordings
Up Jumps One
Rollins: St. Thomas
Available Recordings
St. Thomas
Sullivan: You May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)
Available Recordings
You May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)
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