Donald Byrd Dies at Age 80


Details are still pending per the release of information from Byrd’s immediate family, whom, according to Byrd’s nephew, have created a “shroud of secrecy” around the death of his uncle, and so must be having a hard time about it, no doubt.
Byrd was a long-time player, rising up from a jazz background and evolving through funk and hip hop as those genres broke ground over the decades. His experience with Art Blakey in the mid-50’s led to his own indentity being established in the jazz community, and after leaving Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, he shared the stage with many of the finest players of his day, including “John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, and later Herbie Hancock.” (wikipedia)
Byrd is also known as a successful crossover artist, finding popularity not just on the jazz scene, but pop and funk charts too. He delved into fusion/r&b with the Mitzell Brothers in the 70’s and they together formed Black Byrd, which in 1973 revealed itself to be the Blue Note label’s highest selling record. Everyone from acid jazz players to hip hop’s Main Source has taken influence from Donald Byrd. Let’s remember him as an artist who truly grew with his surrounding influences and continued to give back that inspiration in bold, authentic expressions. Rest in peace, Donald.

One thought on “Donald Byrd Dies at Age 80

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s