The Magic of 2

The 11 tunes here come from a 1982 gig by pianists Tommy Flanagan and Jaki Byard (in both duo and solo performances) at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner, the North Beach jazz club run by Todd Barkan from 1972-83. Barkan, who moved to the Big Apple some years ago and has just begun managing a Keystone Korner jazz series at Manhattan’s Iridium, co-produced this disc and is heard introducing the pianists before they launch into their first tune, a rousing version of Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple from the Apple.” Besides providing a ton of info (plus photos) on the musicians and club, the accompanying 24-page booklet also details the order of solos on the duo’s tunes, which is a major help. The elegant Flanagan’s forays into Ellingtonia include three Billy Strayhorn compositions—among them a luxurious version of “Chelsea Bridge”—while the earthier Byard’s three solo efforts include a remarkable rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love,” on which he offers up tastes of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and goes back in history with some stride piano à la James P. Johnson. The disc closes with their version of Miles Davis’ “The Theme,” the tune Davis used to close his sets. This is a magnificent effort that demands—and will reward—one’s close attention.