Donald Byrd

Real Name:
Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II
Profile:
American jazz trumpeter, composer, bandleader and educator.

Born: 9 December 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Died: 4 February 2013 in Dover, Delaware, USA (aged 80).

Byrd attended Cass Tech, where he studied classical music and was mentored by the band director Dr. Harry Begian, a disciplinarian. He played trumpet in military bands during a stint in the Air Force from 1951–1953, before graduating from Wayne State University in 1954 with a music degree. Like other young Detroit jazz musicians, he also studied with bebop pianist Barry Harris (2).

Byrd's warmly burnished sound, fluent technique and aggressive-yet-graceful swing was rooted in the style of Clifford Brown, but his gangly, rhythmically loose phrasing was a unique calling card right from the get-go. As Byrd matured in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he tempered his hummingbird flourishes with a cooler sensibility and phrasing.

Byrd recorded prolifically both as a sideman and a leader, appearing on scores of recordings on the Savoy Records, Prestige, Riverside Records and Blue Note labels. He led a feisty quintet with his old pal from Detroit, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, from 1958–1961. Byrd also gave a young pianist from Chicago named Herbie Hancock his first major exposure by hiring him in 1961.

As a composer, Byrd was proficient in church-inspired shouts, funky and sophisticated blues forms and structurally interesting originals. He had a wider field of vision than many of his peers, exemplified by his influential 1963 LP, “A New Perspective” (Blue Note), which married his small group with a gospel choir.

Byrd never stopped going to school. He earned a master's degree in music education from the Manhattan School of Music in the late 1950s, studied composition with the famous classical pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in France in the early 1960s, earned a law degree from Howard University in 1976 and a doctorate from Columbia Teachers College in New York in the early 1980s.

Beginning in the 1960s, Byrd taught at many universities, most notably Rutgers, Howard and North Carolina Central.

By the early 1970s, Byrd had begun exploring a danceable fusion of jazz, R&B and soul. In 1973, he teamed with current and former students at Howard, where he was chairman of the black music department, to make the best-selling LP “Black Byrd”. Produced by brothers Larry Mizell & Fonce Mizell, the record and its sequels elevated Byrd into a crossover star.
Sites:
In Groups:
Variations:

Artist

Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions

Albums

MG 12017 Bohemia After Dark — Donald Byrd Julian "Cannonball" Adderley* With Horace Silver, Paul Chambers (3), Donald Byrd, Nat Adderley, Jerome Richardson, Kenny Clarke Julian "Cannonball" Adderley* With Horace Silver, Paul Chambers (3), Donald Byrd, Nat Adderley, Jerome Richardson, Kenny Clarke - Bohemia After Dark (Album) Savoy Records, Savoy Records MG 12017 US 1955 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
MG-12029 , MG-12029 Montage — Donald Byrd Eddie Bert, Hank Jones, Donald Byrd, John Mehegan, J.R. Monterose, Frank Foster, Paul Chambers (3), Clyde Lombardi, Kenny Clarke Eddie Bert, Hank Jones, Donald Byrd, John Mehegan, J.R. Monterose, Frank Foster, Paul Chambers (3), Clyde Lombardi, Kenny Clarke - Montage(LP, Album, Mono) Savoy Records, London Records MG-12029 , MG-12029 Canada 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
LP 7080 The Young Bloods — Donald Byrd Woods* / Byrd* Woods* / Byrd* - The Young Bloods (Album) Prestige LP 7080 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
LP 7035, PRLP 7035 Lights Out! — Donald Byrd The Jackie McLean Quintet* With Donald Byrd And Elmo Hope The Jackie McLean Quintet* With Donald Byrd And Elmo Hope - Lights Out! (Album) Prestige, Prestige LP 7035, PRLP 7035 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
MG 12064 The Jazz Message Of — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins, John La Porta*, Ronnie Ball, Wendell Marshall, Kenny Clarke Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins, John La Porta*, Ronnie Ball, Wendell Marshall, Kenny Clarke - The Jazz Message Of (Album) Savoy Records MG 12064 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
MG 12032 Byrd's Word — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Byrd's Word (Album) Savoy Records MG 12032 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
TRLP 5 Byrd Jazz — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Byrd Jazz (Album) Transition TRLP 5 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
TRLP 17 Byrd Blows On Beacon Hill — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Byrd Blows On Beacon Hill (Album) Transition TRLP 17 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
32-013 Byrd's Eye View — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Byrd's Eye View (Album) Transition 32-013 UK 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
PRLP 7062 2 Trumpets — Donald Byrd Farmer* / Byrd* Farmer* / Byrd* - 2 Trumpets (Album) Prestige PRLP 7062 US 1956 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
NJLP 8207 The New York Scene — Donald Byrd George Wallington Quintet Featuring Phil Woods, Donald Byrd George Wallington Quintet Featuring Phil Woods, Donald Byrd - The New York Scene (Album) New Jazz NJLP 8207 US 1957 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
CL 1058 Modern Jazz Perspective — Donald Byrd Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce - Modern Jazz Perspective (Album) Columbia CL 1058 US 1957 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
PRLP 7092 Three Trumpets — Donald Byrd Art Farmer / Donald Byrd / Idrees Sulieman Art Farmer / Donald Byrd / Idrees Sulieman - Three Trumpets (Album) Prestige PRLP 7092 US 1957 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
CL 998 Jazz Lab — Donald Byrd Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce - Jazz Lab (Album) Columbia CL 998 US 1957 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
BLP 1540 Hank Mobley With Donald Byrd And Lee Morgan — Donald Byrd Hank Mobley With Donald Byrd And Lee Morgan Hank Mobley With Donald Byrd And Lee Morgan - Hank Mobley With Donald Byrd And Lee Morgan (Album) Blue Note BLP 1540 US 1957 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
PRESTIGE 5 Modern Jazz Survey 1 / New York Jazz — Donald Byrd Geo. Wallington*, Phil Woods, Donald Byrd, Red Garland Geo. Wallington*, Phil Woods, Donald Byrd, Red Garland - Modern Jazz Survey 1 / New York Jazz(LP) Prestige PRESTIGE 5 US 1957 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
BLP 1564 Paul Chambers Quintet — Donald Byrd Paul Chambers Quintet With Donald Byrd, Cliff Jordan*, Tommy Flanagan, Elvin Jones Paul Chambers Quintet With Donald Byrd, Cliff Jordan*, Tommy Flanagan, Elvin Jones - Paul Chambers Quintet (Album) Blue Note BLP 1564 US 1958 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
PLP12-1144 Jazz Lab — Donald Byrd Gigi Gryce / Donald Byrd Gigi Gryce / Donald Byrd - Jazz Lab (Album) Jubilee PLP12-1144 Australia 1958 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
7130, PRLP 7130 All Mornin' Long — Donald Byrd Red Garland, John Coltrane, Donald Byrd Red Garland, John Coltrane, Donald Byrd - All Mornin' Long (Album) Prestige, Prestige 7130, PRLP 7130 US 1958 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
BLP 4007 Off To The Races — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Off To The Races (Album) Blue Note BLP 4007 US 1959 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
4019, BLP 4019 Byrd In Hand — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Byrd In Hand (Album) Blue Note, Blue Note 4019, BLP 4019 US 1959 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
JLP 901S Jazz Lab — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd & Gigi Gryce Donald Byrd & Gigi Gryce - Jazz Lab (Album) JAZZLAND JLP 901S US 1960 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
JLP 6 Hard Bop — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd - Hank Mobley - Kenny Drew Donald Byrd - Hank Mobley - Kenny Drew - Hard Bop (Album) Jazzland JLP 6 US 1960 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
BLP 4048 Byrd In Flight — Donald Byrd Donald Byrd Byrd In Flight (Album) Blue Note BLP 4048 US 1960 Sell This Version
Image Title Label Catalog Number Year In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory Actions
PRLP 7181 Soul Junction — Donald Byrd The Red Garland Quintet Featuring John Coltrane And Donald Byrd The Red Garland Quintet Featuring John Coltrane And Donald Byrd - Soul Junction (Album) Prestige PRLP 7181 US 1960 Sell This Version

Add Review

guzzer

guzzer

November 26, 2021
That run of albums between 1972 - 74 Ethiopian Knights, Black Byrd, Street Lady, Places and Spaces - all are basically perfect
See 2 replies
peterhaslund

peterhaslund

October 29, 2021
Starting out with Byrd, look for Blackjack, Slow Drag and then maybe spring for the 2000 Complete Mosaic with Pepper Adams set, contrasting sounds complementing each other. That Byrd could sing some.
jamesjazzy

jamesjazzy

February 4, 2017
edited over 6 years ago
I have probably about 35 of his recordings. My favorites are (1) Street Lady (2) Slow Drag (3) Electric Byrd. 1 and 2 could go either way but Electric Byrd is not 1 or 2 .
See 3 replies

Videos (121)

Edit