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.
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Albums

MG 12017 Donald Byrd - Bohemia After Dark album art 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
trlp J-4 Donald Byrd - Byrd's Eye View album art Donald Byrd Byrd's Eye View (Album) Transition trlp J-4 US 1955 Sell This Version
LP 7080 Donald Byrd - The Young Bloods album art Woods* / Byrd* Woods* / Byrd* - The Young Bloods (Album) Prestige LP 7080 US 1956 Sell This Version
LP 7035, PRLP 7035 Donald Byrd - Lights Out! album art 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
MG 12064 Donald Byrd - The Jazz Message Of album art 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
MG 12032 Donald Byrd - Byrd's Word album art Donald Byrd Byrd's Word (Album) Savoy Records MG 12032 US 1956 Sell This Version
TRLP 5 Donald Byrd - Byrd Jazz album art Donald Byrd Byrd Jazz (Album) Transition TRLP 5 US 1956 Sell This Version
TRLP 17 Donald Byrd - Byrd Blows On Beacon Hill album art Donald Byrd Byrd Blows On Beacon Hill (Album) Transition TRLP 17 US 1956 Sell This Version
PRLP 7062 Donald Byrd - 2 Trumpets album art Farmer* / Byrd* Farmer* / Byrd* - 2 Trumpets (Album) Prestige PRLP 7062 US 1956 Sell This Version
NJLP 8207 Donald Byrd - The New York Scene album art 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
CL 1058 Donald Byrd - Modern Jazz Perspective album art Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce - Modern Jazz Perspective (Album) Columbia CL 1058 US 1957 Sell This Version
PRLP 7092 Donald Byrd - Three Trumpets album art Art Farmer / Donald Byrd / Idrees Sulieman Art Farmer / Donald Byrd / Idrees Sulieman - Three Trumpets (Album) Prestige PRLP 7092 US 1957 Sell This Version
CL 998 Donald Byrd - Jazz Lab album art Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce Don Byrd* - Gigi Gryce - Jazz Lab (Album) Columbia CL 998 US 1957 Sell This Version
BLP 1540 Donald Byrd - Hank Mobley With Donald Byrd And Lee Morgan album art 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
PRESTIGE 5 Donald Byrd - Modern Jazz Survey 1 / New York Jazz album art 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
BLP 1564 Donald Byrd - Paul Chambers Quintet album art 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
PLP12-1144 Donald Byrd - Jazz Lab album art Gigi Gryce / Donald Byrd Gigi Gryce / Donald Byrd - Jazz Lab (Album) Jubilee PLP12-1144 Australia 1958 Sell This Version
7130, PRLP 7130 Donald Byrd - All Mornin' Long album art 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
BLP 4007 Donald Byrd - Off To The Races album art Donald Byrd Off To The Races (Album) Blue Note BLP 4007 US 1959 Sell This Version
4019, BLP 4019 Donald Byrd - Byrd In Hand album art Donald Byrd Byrd In Hand (Album) Blue Note, Blue Note 4019, BLP 4019 US 1959 Sell This Version
JLP 6 Donald Byrd - Hard Bop album art Donald Byrd - Hank Mobley - Kenny Drew Donald Byrd - Hank Mobley - Kenny Drew - Hard Bop(LP, Album, Mono, RE) Jazzland JLP 6 US 1960 Sell This Version
JLP 901S Donald Byrd - Jazz Lab album art Donald Byrd & Gigi Gryce Donald Byrd & Gigi Gryce - Jazz Lab (Album) JAZZLAND JLP 901S US 1960 Sell This Version
BLP 4048 Donald Byrd - Byrd In Flight album art Donald Byrd Byrd In Flight (Album) Blue Note BLP 4048 US 1960 Sell This Version
PRLP 7181 Donald Byrd - Soul Junction album art 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
SM 1039 Donald Byrd - Byrd In Paris album art Donald Byrd Byrd In Paris (Album) Signature (4) SM 1039 US 1960 Sell This Version