Don Byron’s New Gospel Quintet: “Love, Peace and Soul”
Reed man Don Byron has been on my radar ever since he served in Joe Henry’s Tiny Voices ensemble; he’s made a lot of terrific recordings in his own right, all of which tend to be filed under Jazz even though most of them aren’t really straightforward jazz records. (Whatever that even means.) He pays tribute to a different genre, or perhaps a different composer, with each record he makes, and his new one is no exception– only, it might actually be his most personal, and it’s certainly one of his best. Love, Peace and Soul is a salute to the stirring, high-stepping gospel songs of Thomas Dorsey, mostly, and also folks like Sister Rosetta Tharpe. If you are, like me, a fan of the documentary Rejoice & Shout, or of the gospel anthologies Fire in My Bones and This May Be My Last Time Singing, you’ll find a lot to love here.
But of course, what really makes me love Byron isn’t his eclecticism so much as the earnest sense of joy he brings to everything he touches; he doesn’t make these records just to show off his knowledge of different genres, but rather to celebrate the music that he loves. This one may be his most celebratory yet. My review is posted at CT.