We lost one of the all time great Jazz/Funk men ever this week. I discovered his music via digging for records to sample and realized my older sis use to play a few of his jams when I was a shorty (She was a funk head). I dug his songs way beyond the loops I could scoop up from them he just made great sophisticated jazzy music. Here’s a few favorite Donald Byrd selections of mine.
This song is so powerful in all of it’s gospel meets jazz trappings it is unique,beautiful and an example in musical subtlety. I love how he lays out till the end of the tune and his tone is just gorgeous
He had many phases as a musician there was his classic cool Jazz period like the before mentioned Christo Redentor and his later funk jazz recordings with his own band and his pupils the BlackByrds. His music was sampled to death in the early 90’s but beyond the samples he made some amazingly groovy music. Here’s a few of my fav’s.
Sampled by Tribe and Main Source amongst others. Covered by Erykah Badu as well, but just a tremendous slice of Jazz Funk. An essential Donald Byrd cut. So many parts change ups and breakdowns. A lot of the later funk Jazz Donald Byrd stuff was great because it was about the tunes not only about Byrd’s riffing. He gave his bands room to stretch out and be expressive.
Places and Spaces:
Sampled by Pete Rock and several others this was a favorite of mine from way back. I always put this on my funk tapes I use to make for people in the late 80’s. This one reminds me of my man Jules Gayton and his OG English Posse. Another one where he lets his band get busy while playing some very pretty stuff through out the tune.
Dominos: This was used by Daddyo and Stetsasonic for the All The Jazz remix. I loved this tune when i was a shorty my sister use to rock this one. Just a groovy jam. His tone on this one, and the vocals are just stunning. Another example of Byrds selflessness as a musician.
Do It Fluid:
And of course I need to include a tune by his funky students The Blackbyrds. This jam has always been a favorite of mine. Produced by Donald Byrd and Larry Mizell (Him and his brother Fonce studied under Donald Byrd at Howard University and later produced several of his records for Blue Note). This is a bad ass song:
I could post Donald Byrd tunes here all day I figure these last two one by the BlackByrds and my all time favorite Windjammers Parade used by both Pac and Black Moon will suffice for now.
Rock Creek Park The Blackbyrds:
Wind Parade:Possibly Donald Byrds most known ample but forget all that it’s just an amazing amazing tune. So many great sections and just so dam groovy.
Donald Byrd lived a long life, he was 80 years old and had several careers in one lifetime. He was through out it all a great trumpeter and who created elegant and beaufitful music for more than 50 years.
Rest In Power and thank your for the music, your spirit and legacy will remain forever.