By Steve Futterman
Updated May 16, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Pianist Ahmad Jamal, long one of jazz’s most unpredictable players, sounds a bit too mild in Big Byrd for his own good, but he’s given a boost from the excellent, if overlooked, violinist Joe Kennedy Jr. and noted trumpeter Donald Byrd, who guest on one track each. With a player like Jamal, politeness, it seems, can be a detriment. B

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