Certainly the Jazz world has produced more than its fair share of innovative, influential, legendary and genius Sax players - the list bears a resemblance to a major metropolitan phone book. Some flat out changed the course of music, while others quietly experimented, honed a unique point of view and quietly went about blowing minds and turning people on to what they found. Don Byas was one of those.
I don't think he really fully got credit for all he had done. Within his group of peers he did. He held his own with the likes of Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. He was one of the first of the Post-War Jazz musicians to pick up stakes and head to Europe, where he spent pretty much the rest of his life, and it's probably for that reason he's not as well known here today as he is in Europe.
Tonight it's Once In A While, from a session he recorded mid-1945 for the Jamboree label out of New York with an All-Star group which included Sir Charles Thompson, Johnny Guarnieri, Eddie Safranksi, Denzel Best and J.C. Heard. Less than a year later he would head off to Europe, setting up shop in Paris, Geneva, Barcelona and doing a series of legendary sessions for the French Blue Star label.
Here's something to mellow out your Saturday night to, especially if it's raining where you are (like it is in L.A. at the moment).