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DON BYAS QUARTET - What Do You Want With My Heart

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Published on Sep 14, 2011

Don Byas - tenor sax, Clyde Hart - piano , Slam Stewart - bass, Jack "The Bear" Parker - drums.
Recorded in New York City on August 17, 1944. Carlos Wesley (Don) Byas born October 21, 1912 and died August 24, 1972 Don Byas was an American jazz tenor saxophonist born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in the United States. Although his long residence in Europe kept him out of the public eye in the United States, he is a significant influence on later players of his instrument.Both of Byas' parents were musical: his mother played the piano and father the clarinet. Byas started his training in classical music, first on the violin, then on the clarinet and finally on the alto saxophone, which he played until the end of the 1920s. Multi-instrumentalist Benny Carter was his idol at this time. He started playing in local orchestras at the age of 17, with the likes of Bennie Moten, Terrence Holder and Walter Pages Blue Devils. At Langston College, Oklahoma, he founded and led his own college band, "Don Carlos and His Collegiate Ramblers", during 1931-32.Byas switched to the tenor saxophone after he moved to West Coast and played with various Los Angeles bands. In 1933, he took part in a West coast tour with Bert Johnsons Sharps and Flats. He worked in Lionel Hamptons band at the Paradise Club in 1935 along with the reed player and arranger Eddie Barefield and the trombonist Tyree Glenn. He was a member of various other bands in the area including those of Eddie Barefield, Buck Clayton (1936), Lorenzo Flennoy and Charlie Echols.n 1937, Byas moved to New York to work with the Eddie Mallory band, accompanying Mallorys wife, the singer Ethel Waters, on tour and at the Cotton Club. He had a brief stint with arranger Don Redman's band in 1938 and later in 1939-1940. He recorded his first solo in May 1939: "Is This to Be My Souvenir" with Timme Rosenkrantz and his Barrelhouse Barons for Victor. He played with the bands of such leaders as Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Edgar Hayes and Benny Carter. He spent about a year in Andy Kirks band, recording with him between March 1939 and January 1940, including a beautiful short solo on "You Set Me on Fire". In September 1940, he had an 8 bar solo on "Practice Makes Perfect" recorded by Billie Holiday. He participated in sessions with the pianist Pete Johnson, trumpeter Hot Lips Page, and singer Big Joe Turner. In 1941 at Minton's Playhouse he played with Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke in after hours sessions. In early 1941, after a short stay with Paul Bascomb, he had his big break when Count Basie chose him to succeed the post of Lester Young in his big band.

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