Don Byron: I've Found A New Baby
I've Found A New Baby
Ivey-Divey (Blue Note 78215)
Composed by Jack Palmer and Spencer Williams.
Recorded: Shokan, NY, May 23-24, 2004
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
"Ivey-divey" was an expression Lester Young created and used to convey resignation, sadness, or frustration, and Don Byron adapted it both as the title of his CD and the name of his trio with Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette. The CD was intended more as an acknowledgment of, rather than a tribute to, the inspirational performances of Lester Young, Nat Cole, and Buddy Rich in a Los Angeles studio in December 1945. The Ivey-Divey trio recorded four of the same standards Young, Cole, and Rich interpreted back then, and the new version of "I've Found a New Baby" stands out from the other Ivey-Divey tracks as an astonishing tour de force.
DeJohnette introduces the piece with a marching-band-like fanfare that precedes Byron's rather tongue-in-cheek—and nearly cloying—tootling of the theme, backed by Moran's very Ellington-sounding hammered chords. When Byron enters his solo, things suddenly become more serious. The clarinetist's intensity increases as he plays tempestuous riffs and phrases, along with piercing dissonance-laden shrieks and cries. Moran is with Byron all the way, almost telepathically anticipating his every twist and turn. DeJohnette meanwhile sustains an active, rumbling rhythmic layer that resides squarely between the traditional and modern guideposts of jazz. Moran's solo, like Byron's, is developed thematically, and features irresistible two-handed interwoven textures. Byron reappears for another divertingly playful examination of the theme, ending with a clever circular treatment of a melodic fragment. You might say this is Lester Young's sensibility as filtered through Byron's liking of Klezmer, Spike Jones, Raymond Scott, and Steve Lacy.
Reviewer: Scott Albin