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Donald Byrd

Biography

Donald Byrd was considered among the finest hard bop trumpeters from the post-Clifford Dark brown era. He documented prolifically as both a innovator and sideman from your middle-’50s in to the middle-’60s, frequently for Blue Notice, where he founded a status as a good stylist having a clean firmness, clear articulation, along with a knack for melodicism. Toward the finish from the ’60s, Byrd became captivated by Miles Davis’ transfer to fusion, and began documenting his personal forays in to the field. In the first ’70s, by using brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, Byrd perfected a shiny, breezy, commercially potent undertake fusion which was unique from Davis, incorporating tighter plans and more of the smooth soul impact. Opinions upon this stage of Byrd’s profession diverge wildly — jazz purists absolutely despised it, branding Byrd a sellout as well as the information a betrayal of skill, but enraptured jazz-funk supporters respect it as a few of the most innovative, long lasting function of its kind. Actually, proportionately speaking, Byrd happened in also higher esteem by that market than by straight-ahead jazz supporters who appreciated his hard bop result. Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II was created in Detroit, Michigan, on Dec 9, 1932. His dad, a Methodist minister, was an beginner musician, and Byrd had been an achieved trumpeter by enough time he completed senior high school, having performed with Lionel Hampton. Byrd offered a stint in the Surroundings Force, where time he performed in a armed forces band, and eventually finished his bachelor’s level in music at Wayne Condition School in 1954. He transferred to NY in 1955 to obtain his master’s on the Manhattan College of Music, and shortly began executing with pianist George Wallington’s group. In Dec of that calendar year, he was asked to join Artwork Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, filling up a seat once kept by his idol, Clifford Dark brown, and Kenny Dorham. Byrd also started his recording profession during this time period, leading many sessions (mainly for Savoy) and functioning frequently as a sideman, especially on the Prestige label. He still left the Jazz Messengers in 1956 and became a member of up with Potential Roach; he continued to try out with famous brands John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Crimson Garland, and in addition co-founded the Jazz Laboratory Quintet with altoist Gigi Gryce in 1957. In 1958, Byrd agreed upon an exclusive documenting agreement with Blue Be aware, and also produced a music group with baritonist Pepper Adams, who stay Byrd’s regular partner until 1961. Byrd’s Blue Notice debut was 1958’s Off towards the Races, and he and Adams collaborated on some superb hard bop times over the following 3 years, including Byrd at hand (1959), In the Fifty percent Notice Cafe, Vols. 1-2 (1960), The Kitty Walk (1961), and Royal Flush (also 1961), amongst others. Another 1961 documenting, Free Form, discovered Byrd giving a Herbie Hancock a few of his first exposure. Third , burst of activity, Byrd got a sabbatical to keep his research in European countries, where he spent a while beneath the tutelage from the famous French music educator Nadia Boulanger. He came back towards the U.S. in 1963 and documented A FRESH Perspective, a now-classic arranged that broke fresh floor by incorporating gospel choirs into its preparations; its personal piece, “Cristo Redentor,” became very popular. Within the middle-’60s, Byrd concentrated even more of his energies on teaching, and proved helpful diligently to create jazz and its own history the best area of the university curriculum. He trained at Rutgers, Hampton, NY School, and Howard in the past due ’60s, as well as the last one continued to be a reliable association for a lot of the ’70s. For the time being, Byrd continuing to record sometimes, cutting your final spate of hard bop albums over 1966-1967 that included Mustang! and Blackjack. Byrd also begun to research African music, motivated partly with the rising black-consciousness motion, and became thinking about Miles Davis’ initiatives to woo a youthful market (including Byrd’s very own learners) by tinkering with consumer electronics and funk rhythms. Released in 1969, Nice Free discovered Byrd using electrical piano for the very first time, having a spacy audio that recalled Davis’ Inside a Silent Method. Issued in 1970, Electric powered Byrd had even more of a Bitches Brew taste, as well as the jams on 1971’s Ethiopian Knights had been longer, funkier, and much more intense. Byrd truly arrived to his own like a fusion designer when he installed with brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who started to deal with production, writing, plus some musical support responsibilities. Their first cooperation was 1972’s Dark Byrd, an upbeat, cool mixture of jazz and R&B. Jazz critics detested the recording and known as Byrd a variety of names, however the record was a smash strike; it became the largest vendor in Blue Take note history, and missed hitting number 1 over the R&B albums graph. Within the wake of its achievement, Byrd produced a helping group, the Blackbyrds, who have been culled in the cream of his music learners at Howard School and documented through all of those other ’70s. Byrd continued release a a string of effective LPs together with the Mizell Brothers, like the imaginary blaxploitation soundtrack Road Female (1974), Stepping into Tomorrow (1975), the much-lauded Areas and Areas (1976), and Caricatures (1977). All produced the very best Ten for the R&B recording charts, as well as the Locations and Spaces solitary “Switch (ENABLES YOU TO Wanna Hustle)” actually got considerable play in discotheques. Jazz-funk followers revere this era generally, but generally reserve their highest compliment for Road Lady and, specifically, Areas and Spaces. Being a aspect take note to his musical profession, Byrd completed law college in 1976, and continued to instruct at NEW YORK Central University. Pursuing Caricatures, Byrd parted methods with Blue Take note as well as the Mizell Brothers and shifted to Elektra. He documented many albums over 1978-1983, but also probably the most commercially effective, 1978’s MANY THANKS…for F.U.M.L. (Funking Up MY ENTIRE LIFE), didn’t match the infectiousness of his Blue Take note jazz-funk outings. In 1982, Byrd received his Ph.D. from Columbia Instructors University. He spent a couple of years within the middle-’80s from documenting, due partly to ill wellness, but continued to instruct, shifting to North Tx Condition and Delaware Condition. In the past due ’80s and early ’90s, Byrd came back towards the hard bop of his start on many classes for the Landmark label. He participated in rapper Guru’s Jazzmatazz task in 1993, and with the introduction of the jazz-rap motion and England’s acidity jazz revival, his ’70s albums became greatly popular resources for samples. For the time being, Byrd continuing his activities like a jazz educator. He passed away in Feb 2013 at age 80.

Quick Facts


Full Name Donald Byrd
Died February 4, 2013, Dover, Delaware, United States
Profession Trumpeter
Education Wayne State University, Teachers College, Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music
Nationality American
Music Groups The Blackbyrds, The Jazz Messengers
Music Songs Dominoes, Places and Spaces, Wind Parade, Love Has Come Around, Cristo Redentor, Change, Lansana's Priestess, You And Music, Flight Time, Steppin' Into Tomorrow, Canteloupe Island, Where Are We Going?, I Feel Like Loving You Today, Black Byrd, Slop Jar Blues, Onward 'til Morning, Love's So Far Away, Miss Kane, Thank You For Funking Up My Life, Street Lady, Night Whistler, I Love Your Love, We're Together, My Girl Shirl, Rock & Roll Again, Makin' It, Just My Imagination, When Your Lover Has Gone, Design a Nation, Bup a Loup, Fancy Free, I Love the Girl
Albums Black Byrd, A New Perspective, Street Lady, Places and Spaces, Stepping into Tomorrow, Royal Flush, Ethiopian Knights, Byrd in Flight, Electric Byrd, Byrd in Hand, Jazz Lab, At the Half Note Cafe, Love Byrd, Free Form, Out of This World, Caricatures, Fancy Free, Off to the Races, Fuego, Byrd's Eye View, Jazz in Paris Collector's Edition: Byrd in Paris, Motor City Scene, 2 Trumpets, Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill, Byrd's Word, Blackjack, The Cat Walk, Three Trumpets, Chant, Modern Jazz Perspective, Mustang!, Byrd Jazz, The Third World, New Formulas from the Jazz Lab, Moanin', Jazz Eyes, September Afternoon, Au Chat Qui Pêche, Shifting Rhythms, Jazz Profile: Horace Silver (No.012), Donald Byrd and Phil Woods:Byrd in Flight, Americans In Paris Collection, Vol. 10, A City Called Heaven, Jazz and the City with Donald Byrd, Jazz & Limousines by Donald Byrd, Grantstand, Classics - Donald Byrd, My Best Songs - Donald Byrd, Soulful Kiddy, Jorgies Hip-Intertainment, Volume 1, The Ultimate Jazz Archive 32 (3 Of 4)
Movies The Next Step, Cornbread, Earl and Me


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Frequently recorded with Gigi Gryce, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Art Pepper (1958-61) and Hank Mobley.
2 Was primarily a jazz musician (specialising in hard bop and jazz-rock fusion), but also branched out into R&B and funk. Created and led fusion group The Blackbyrds from 1973 to 1981.
3 From 1973, taught jazz at Rutgers and Howard universities.
4 Held a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music. Studied composition under Nadia Boulanger in France. In 1982, earned a PhD in music education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
5 [2000] Named a Jazz Master by the (US) National Endowment for the Arts.
6 Jazz trumpeter.


Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Grand Theft Auto V 2013 Video Game performer: "You and Music"
Diana 2013 writer: "Tanya"
Saints Row IV 2013 Video Game performer: "Oh Shit"
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories 2006 Video Game performer: "Love Has Come Around"
Independent Lens 2006 TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode
Confidence 2003 performer: "House of the Rising Sun"
Very Bad Things 1998 writer: "Do It Fluid" 1973
How Stella Got Her Groove Back 1998 performer: "Mastablasta '98"
Stolen Moments.: Red Hot+Cool 1994 TV Movie documentary performer: "Time Is Moving On", "The Creator Has a Masterplan" / writer: "Time Is Moving On"
Ready to Wear 1994 performer: "BlackJack" / writer: "BlackJack" - as Donaldson Byrd
Above the Rim 1994 performer: "Oh Shit"
A Bronx Tale 1993 performer: "Cristo Redentor", "Cristo Redento"
The Meteor Man 1993 writer: "IT'S ON"
WKRP in Cincinnati 1979 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Cornbread, Earl and Me 1975 performer: "Wilford's Gone" / writer: "Wilford's Gone"
Judy Garland in Concert 1964 Documentary writer: "When Your Love Has Gone"

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Something New 2006/I choreographer
The Next Step 1997 choreographer
The Seven Deadly Sins 1993 TV Movie choreographer

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Next Step 1997 Austin

Composer

Composer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Cornbread, Earl and Me 1975

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Don King: Only in America 1997 TV Movie composer: song "Cristo Redentor"

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The 60th Annual Tony Awards 2006 TV Special Himself - Nominee: Best Choreography
Stolen Moments.: Red Hot+Cool 1994 TV Movie documentary Himself
26th NAACP Image Awards 1994 TV Special Himself
New American Bandstand 1965 1977 TV Series Himself
Soul Alive 1977 TV Series Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The 56th Annual Grammy Awards 2014 TV Special Himself - Jazz Trumpeter (In Memoriam)

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