Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II (Detroit9 december 1932 - Dover (Delaware)4 February 2013) was an American jazztrumpeter-. He played hard bop, but moved later on direction and rhythm & bluesfusion and had a couple of big commercial hits. In the 1950s he played with the greats of jazz and was a invloedsbron for acid jazzhip hopand-musicians.


[hide]*1 Bop


Byrd already as a teenager played with vibraphonist and bandleader Lionel Hampton. He studied at Wayne State University and Manhattan School of Music, and during his studies he played with the Group of George Wallington. He was also a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, where he replaced Clifford Brown trumpet legend. In the mid-1950s he went make recordings as a leader (including Savoy) and went to play along on songs by other musicians. In 1956, he left the band by Blakey and played with jazz giants like John ColtraneSonny RollinsThelonious Monk and, later, a young Herbie Hancock. In 1957, he formed the group with saxophonist Gigi Gryce Jazz Lab Quintet, with which he recorded several albums. In 1958 he began a group with saxophonist Pepper Adams, with which he was active until 1961. In the same year he closed a record deal with Blue Note, for which he would record some 25 albums in the following years. These were initially bop-plates, but in the late 1960s he became interested in African music and, thanks to Miles Davis, electronic music and funk. From 1969 (the album ' Fancy Free ') he took jazz fusion-plates on.

Fusion and Rhythm & Blues[Edit]Edit

Byrd played In the 1970s jazz fusion/smooth jazz and rhythm & blues. He worked together with the Faize Mizell brothers and Larry Mizell and took with them and others in 1973 Black Byrd on the plate, that was a great commercial success. The title-track took the 19th place in the R & B lists of America and even came in the Billboard Hot 100 (88). The album was at that time the most selling record of Blue Note, but the purists among the jazz lovers have to say about the new direction of Byrd but nothing. The following albums with the brothers were also hits. The group that Byrd in that time began, The Blackbyrds (named after that successful album), which includes some of his students of Howard University was successful in commercial and artistic point of view, for example, the millionseller with "Walking in Rhythm" and eight best-selling 2001 game boards for Fantasy Records. The music in the 1970s made Byrd later formed a great source for samples for countless hip-hop musicians and groups such as Public Enemy and Us3. In the 1990s, played Byrd on the Guru 's album Jazzmatazz.

After Blue Note[Edit]Edit

' Blue Note ' was Byrd's latest record for Caricatures. He left for Elektra and made several albums in the following years, but these were not nearly as successful as that from his Blue Note-time. In the mid-1980s he appeared not in the record studio, inter alia because of health problems. Though he still gave les. Later that decade he made several plates for landmark Records, on which he, like in the beginning of his career, played hard bop.


Byrd has from the mid-sixties taught at various universities. During his work on North Carolina Central University in the 1980s, he formed another band with students, Donald Byrd & the 125th St NYC Band. He also studied weather: in 1976, he received a master degree in law and in 1982 a master degree at Columbia University Teachers College.

Discography (selection)[Edit]Edit

at Blue Note:

  • Off to the Races, 1959
  • Byrd in Hand, 1959
  • Fuego, 1959
  • Byrd in Flight, 1960
  • At the Half Note Cafe, 1960
  • Chant, 1961
  • The Cat Walk, 1961
  • Royal Flush, 1961
  • Free Form, 1961
  • A New Perspective, 1963
  • I'm tryin' to Get Home, 1964
  • Mustang, 1966
  • Blackjack, 1967
  • Slow Drag, 1967
  • The Creeper, 1967
  • Fancy Free, 1967
  • Kofi, 1969
  • Electric Byrd, 1969/1970
  • Ethiopian Knights, 1971
  • Black Byrd, 1973
  • Street Lady, 1973
  • Stepping into Tomorrow, 1974
  • Places and Spaces, 1975
  • Caricatures, 1976

other labels:

  • Byrd JazzTransition, 1955
  • Byrd's Eye View, Transition, 1955
  • Byrd's WordSavoy, 1955
  • Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill, Transition, 1956
  • Two Trumpets (with Art FarmerPrestige, 1956
  • The Young Bloods (with Phil Woods), Prestige, 1956
  • Jazz Lab (with Gigi Gryce), Columbia, 1957
  • At Newport (with Gryce), Verve, 1957
  • Modern Jazz Perspective (with Gryce and Jackie Paris), Columbia, 1957
  • Jazz Eyes (with John Jenkins), Regent Records, 1957
  • Byrd in ParisBethlehem Records, 1958
  • Parisian Thoroughfare, 1958
  • Motor City Scene (with Pepper Adams), Bethlehem, 1960
  • Up with Donald Byrd, Verve, 1964
  • Love ByrdElektra Records, 1981
  • Words, Sounds, Colours and Shapeslandmark Records, 1983
  • Harlem Blues, landmark Records, 1987
  • Getting Down to Business, landmark Records, 1989
  • A City Called Heaven, landmark Records, 1991
  • Touchstone (with Pepper Adams and Teddy Charles , Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Cobb, 2000

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