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In light of the recent death of Jazz great Donald Byrd (80 years old), I am featuring this album “Byrd in Hand.” This is not intended as a tribute because there’s plenty of Jazz tracks here on Jazz Con Class of Donald Byrd as either a leader or a sideman. The reason why I’m featuring this particular album is not solely because of its greatness but more importantly, because he was remembered more for his work on post 70’s records (Beginning of so-called “Smooth Jazz”). One must note that great music doesn’t ever “get old” by any means and Donald Byrd’s earlier accomplishments should be recognized even more. Its for this reason that I have created Jazz Con Class, so this music could have a place to be enjoyed on a 24 hour basis. “Byrd in Hand” will be featured for a couple weeks and then place in the “Hard Bop” playlist. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

Of the jazz trumpeters who blazed a trail during the 1950s and ’60s, Donald Byrd has never really gotten his due. He came into his own at the same time as Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Kenny Dorham, etc. were on the scene, unjustly diverting some attention away from Byrd. Yet a listen to a small part of his recorded output reveals a trumpeter with a well-developed penchant for lyricism and who, over time, learned to use space as effectively in his improvisations as Miles himself.

Byrd In Hand, Byrd’s second album for Blue Note Records, features him with his frequent collaborator, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams. The front-line is augmented with tenor man Charlie Rouse and the rhythm section includes Walter Davis Jr., Sam Jones and Art Taylor.

The proceedings kick off in elegant style with a gorgeous rendition of “Witchcraft” that makes expert use of a rhythmic suspension. Byrd’s sensitive rendering of the standard features forceful punctuations by Rouse and Adams that illustrate the orchestral possibilities of a three-man front-line and up the romantic quotient of the tune. Byrd then takes a two-chorus solo, a thoughtful improvisation full of memorable lines……..Read More

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