GRAND SLAM…Howard Riley & Jaki Byard: R&B, Lucia Iannielo: Maintenant

UK-based Slam Records delivers two fresh sounding releases, separated by a mere 30 years in creation.

A summit between pianists Howard Riley and Jaki Byard took place at the Pendley Manor Jazz Festival back in July 1985. The two switch between original and jazz standards with wondrous results. A wonderfully romantic opening to “Body and Soul” slowly undulates to an unbridled feast of passion, while “Straight, No Chaser” and “Round Midnight/Space” keep the root of Monk’s sphere of influence, but with a mix of rhapsody and experimental embellishments. The two mix ragtime and jagged time on their own “Open” and Byard even whips out his alto sax for a bopping read of “Lady Bird.” Who was hiding this gig from us for so long?

Lucia Iannniello creates a wondrous mix of experimentation and swing on this disc with Diana Torti/voc, Giuseppe La Spina/g and Paolo Tombolesi/key-b-perc. She takes on the Bb and C trumpets along with the flugelhorn to create some various brass effects. Creating mystical shadows with her muted horn as it blends with voice and guitar on the title track. Her sound is lonely and delicate as she opens her horn on “Ballad for Samuel” and teams it with Tombolesi’s synth on “Other.” Some rich African percussion teams up with Torti’s ethereal vice on “Desert Fairy Princess” and La Spina’s gentle guitar adds some blue tones to the gentle ripples of “Preliminarires Amoureux.” Lots of long shadows are cast here, making for thoughtful imbibing of sounds.
Slam Productions

Leave a Reply