Monday, April 01, 2013

Donald Byrd: Black Byrd

"Donald Byrd, one of the leading jazz trumpeters of the 1950s and early 1960s, who became both successful and controversial in the 1970s by blending jazz, funk and rhythm and blues into a pop hybrid that defied categorization, died on Feb. 4. ... Almost from the day he arrived in New York City in 1955 from his native Detroit, Mr. Byrd was at the center of the movement known as hard bop, a variation on bebop that put greater emphasis on jazz’s blues and gospel roots. Known for his pure tone and impeccable technique, he performed or recorded with some of the most prominent jazz musicians of that era. ... Mr. Byrd, a strong advocate of music education, spent much of the 1960s teaching. Then, in 1973, he made a surprising transition to pop stardom with the album 'Black Byrd,' produced by the brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who had been his students at Howard University in Washington. With Mr. Byrd’s restrained licks (he played both trumpet and fluegelhorn) layered over an irresistible funk groove seasoned with wah-wah guitar and simple, repeated lyrics ('Get in the groove, just can’t lose'), 'Black Byrd' reached the Billboard Top 100, where it peaked at No. 88" (William Yardley, "Donald Byrd, Jazz Trumpeter, Dies at 80," New York Times, 2/11/13).

View catalog record here!


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