Don Byron's 'Ivey-Divey' Revisits Lester Young

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Lester Young

Lester Young performs in New York in 1946. Library of Congress hide caption

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Clarinetist Don Byron is known for his musical experimentation — playing classical compositions, Latin dance grooves, hip-hop, klezmer and pop songs. For his latest project, Byron returns to his first love — jazz, with a CD largely dedicated to legendary saxophonist Lester Young.

Don Byron
Cori Wells Braun

With the CD Ivey-Divey, Byron reinterprets music from the 1946 recording Lester Young Trio, in which Young was accompanied by Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums.

"With Lester Young, I think there's a discipline suggested that at the moment I reheard him seemed very tangible to me," Byron tells NPR's Michele Norris. "He's an incredibly disciplined person that kind of wants to sound like he has no discipline at all, like he's just walking in the park."

Ivey-Divey includes a pair of Miles Davis tunes as well. And ironically it's on Davis' "In a Silent Way" that Byron says he hears himself sound the most like Young. It doesn't hurt that Byron is accompanied on the new CD by drummer Jack DeJohnette, who was on the original Davis sessions of "In a Silent Way."

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