With the advent of Twitter, sad news spreads fast and I discovered via KCRW DJ Mathieu Schreyer that trumpeter Donald Byrd has passed away this morning.
He was a bebop jazz musician who also became a pioneer in funk, soul and R&B, had his share of hits, while still remaining true to his roots. His unique fusion of genres brought him great success – at one point he had the biggest-selling album in Blue Note history with “Blackbyrd” – and established a truly beloved, unique sound.
As Mathieu said “Donald’s music, for a lack of a better word, is hip. Always has been and always will be.”
He left us with some amazing music and “Slow Drag” is a perfect starting point.
And The Blackbyrds’ “Wilford’s Gone”, a track sampled by Gang Starr, followed by a later collaboration with Guru.