Jaki Byard with Strings! is an album by pianist Jaki Byard recorded in 1968 and released on the Prestige label.
This out-of-print album is quite unusual. Although pianist Jaki Byard is technically featured “with strings,” the strings consist of violinist Ray Nance (who sings “Ray’s Blues”), guitarist George Benson, cellist Ron Carter and bassist Richard Davis (along with drummer Alan Dawson). The repertoire includes a jammed version of “How High the Moon,” a couple of tricky Byard originals and the then-current pop tune “Music to Watch Girls By.” But more significant than the songs is the playing by the distinctive musicians who almost make the band sound like a regular group rather than a one-time get-together (Scott Yanow/AllMusic, http://bit.ly/2Fzi5j9).
“Music to Watch Girls By” (Sid Ramin) – 3:44
“Falling Rains of Life”(Jaki Byard) – 7:56
“Cat’s Cradle Conference Rag” (Jaki Byard) – 11:47
“How High the Moon” (Nancy Hamilton, Morgan Lewis) – 14:17
“Ray’s Blues” (Jaki Byard) – 6:47
Jaki Byard – piano, organ
George Benson – guitar
Ray Nance – violin, vocals
Ron Carter – cello
Richard Davis – bass
Alan Dawson – drums, vibraphone
Recorded: April 2, 1968
Producer: Don Schlitten