I am sad to report the death of Donald Byrd or to give him his full name Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II. he died on 4th February aged 80. He was seen by many as the finest trumpet player of his generation and was able to transition from a be bop style into jazz funk fusion. He was seen as a pioneer in the latter genre. It is via jazz funk that I became aware of Mr Byrd. I was a bit of a teenage Soul Boy, come Funkateer. As a result Donald Byrd’s band the Blackbyrds were a favourite of mine.
I posted about him as recently as December last year; click here to read that post. He was also a much sought after sideman to many other performers including Art Blakey, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock to name but a few. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans. RIP Donald Byrd.