Two titans of jazz piano are captured in flight on the new Resonance Records album, "Tommy Flanagan/Jaki Byard: The Magic of 2." Scheduled for April 9 release as a CD with 24-page booklet, a digital download with digital booklet, and a deluxe limited edition 2-LP set, "The Magic of 2" presents a 1980 concert recorded at San Francisco's celebrated Keystone Korner and the second entry in Resonance's Keystone Discoveries series.
"It's a revelation, how well they played together," says Keystone's owner Todd Barkan, who co-produced the CD with Resonance Records' Executive Vice President and General Manager Zev Feldman. "They had quite disparate styles, but they share such an incredibly large vocabulary and frame of reference that it makes their language coherent. They're both referring to the same knowledge and experience of the history of jazz piano."
The music is a "gift [from the past that] is both unique and stupendous," says jazz historian Dan Morgenstern, one of seven annotators in the CD package's 24-page illustrated booklet. " . . . Alone and especially together, Tommy and Jaki show us what spontaneous creation is all about."
When Resonance started working with Barkan, says Feldman, on the lauded 2011 release of "Pinnacle," a magnificent 1980 performance by Freddie Hubbard and the first Keystone Discoveries title, "We became aware that the Flanagan-Byard session was something Todd was absolutely passionate about."
Over the past few years, Resonance has established itself as a home for such notable rediscoveries through acclaimed releases like Hubbard's "Pinnacle," Bill Evans's "Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of the Gate," and Wes Montgomery's "Echoes of Indiana Avenue." Each of these releases has boasted vivid sound quality and an attention to detail that attests to the label's respect and admiration for the musicians.
"Resonance is trying to become a leader in historical jazz recordings and this totally fits the bill," Feldman says. "We're putting out this music because we really believe in it-we believe in Jaki Byard, we believe in Tommy Flanagan, and we want to celebrate both of these artists for their contributions to this music. And we also want to celebrate Todd Barkan's vision."