“Donald Byrd word on the track, quite exact,
Giving you the format, Jack
See we gotta pave the way and display.”
I didn’t want to believe this today. Word spread over the internet of one of my favorite trumpet players, a guy who I always bought no matter what when I came across it in the field, Dr. Donald Byrd passed earlier this week. Some wrong information started over on a Prince forum board, only to be retracted by the magazine a little while later had me confused it was a hoax. Kon was questioning it. Gilles Peterson was questioning it. As the flood of tribute videos of some of my favorite Donald Byrd tunes poured in, it started to sink in. Respected record and music media cats started to post about it, and seeing that the news came from what looks to be a reliable source, it seems to be true. According to his nephew Alex Bugnon’s facebook page, which had the following message, he died on Monday in Delaware.
“Donald Byrd 1932- 2013
Donald passed away Monday in Delaware, where he lived. His funeral will be held in Detroit sometime next week. I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family ( NOT His children! We are very tight! ) who are “handling” it. I’m letting y’all know, so spread it as far as you can! Let’s remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music, until his death. That’s what I try to be, everyday!!
Rest in peace, uncle!”
A pioneer not just as a trumpeter in Jazz, but as an educator as well, Donald Byrd will be truly missed by fans all over the world. I brought out his Blue Note side A New Perspective today, and when I listen to it, it seems a bit spiritual. Joined by Hank Mobley on tenor, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Butch Warren on bass, Herbie Hancock on piano and Lex Humphries on drums, Byrd stated on this record that he would “go as far as my emotions, intellect and experience will allow me.” How could he have predicted the outcome of his 80 years on this earth? Bandleader, sideman, professor, and champion of new kinds of music, I’d say that Byrd would have gone even further had he stayed alive. The side I chose today, “The Black Disciple” is based on African rhythms and the title references one of the three Kings to visit Jesus in Bethlehem. Every one in this group gets a chance at the solo, sometimes a bit heated, but to me it’s not too much. Rest In Peace Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II, you will be sorely missed. More developments as they come as this hasn’t been officially confirmed by any media outlet.
Download “The Black Disciple” here.