Clarinetist Don Byron
immediately became famous in the jazz world after the release of his debut CD as a leader. The strong themes (all but a melody apiece from Robert Schumann
and Duke Ellington
are originals), the advanced yet logical improvising, and the often-dramatic music make this a particularly memorable set. Byron
, doubling on clarinet and bass clarinet, is heard in settings ranging from an unaccompanied solo and duets with bassist Reggie Workman
and pianist Joe Berkovitz
to medium-size groups with such sidemen as guitarist Bill Frisell
, bassist Lonnie Plaxico
, drummer Ralph Peterson Jr.
, pianist Edsel Gomez
, and others. Although several songs involve justifiable social protest (including the title cut, which has a poem by Sadiq), the music also stands alone outside of the issues. Highly recommended.