Austin Byrd Trio
I'm very excited and proud to share my debut album "Liftoff!" with you! This was an incredibly rewarding project and I can't thank my good friends Brian Ward (bass) and Abe Lagrimas, Jr (drums) for their invaluable musical contributions and friendship. This album would not be what it is without their time and talent. Purchase here
Read the review by Downbeat and Jazz Times critic Scott Yanow:
Austin Byrd, a significant up-and-coming jazz pianist, graduated
from the University of North Texas and spent a year touring with the Glenn
Miller Orchestra. Now based in Long Beach, he is a modern player who on his
debut CD as a leader, Liftoff!, displays both versatility plenty of talent.
Byrd, who is featured in a trio with bassist Brian Ward and drummer
Abe Lagrimas, Jr, contributed all seven compositions. The opener,
"Bernstein's Dilemma," is dedicated to guitarist Peter Bernstein. It has an
attractive melody and a chord sequence that is similar to "Whispering" or
"Groovin' High" except that it adds on an advanced bridge. On this piece and
the medium-tempo blues ("Blue Byrd") that follows, Byrd shows how swinging
and creative he is at playing joyful classic bebop. "January" moves the
music up to late 1960s Blue Note. Ward's bass pattern keeps the tune catchy
throughout while Byrd builds up his solo quite logically.
"The Drift" is a real change-of-pace, an episodic work that begins
as a somber ballad before becoming electric. Austin Byrd switches to
electric keyboards and plays some spacey ideas on top of the assertive
electric bass. The performance becomes more energetic as it evolves before
returning to its earlier mood. While Byrd in his liner notes says that this
piece portrays the zone between sleeping and waking when odd things can
happen, it also sounds a bit like an outer space journey.
The introspective ballad "Someone Somewhere" brings the music down
to earth, featuring some fine interplay between Byrd and bassist Ward.
"Going With You," a tribute to Pat Metheny, is a thoughtful ballad with
statements that take their time. Liftoff! concludes with the title cut, an
uptempo original similar to the bop era's "Half Nelson." Once again the
pianist is inventive within the earlier style while playing in his own
voice. Throughout the CD, bassist Brian Ward excels both as an occasional
soloist and a stimulating accompanist while drummer Abe Lagrimas, Jr. keeps
the uptempo pieces driving while adding color to the ballads.
Liftoff! is an impressive debut by Austin Byrd that will be enjoyed
by anyone interested in swinging straight ahead jazz and sophisticated
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including Jazz
On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film.
As a sideman:
I can also be heard on the following albums: