Donald Byrd sure made his contribution to the Early Jazz Funk movement and this album “Ethiopian Knights” is certain proof. This is the album prior to the famous Black Byrd album and where he was heavily criticized by fellow Jazz musicians because of its total abandonment of traditional creative improvising and what Jazz really stands for. Donald Byrd created a new genre in the commercial musical world which was later named “Smooth Jazz.” In my opinion, Black Byrd did harm traditional Jazz but this wasn’t the only reason. There are other factors involved but I will discuss this matter in the future. For now, let’s concentrate on this classic. To listen to this album featured here in its entirety, please go to the schedule link for play times.
About the album:
At about the same time that Miles Davis’ crew was populating the jazz world with their revolutionary fusion-isms, trumpeter Donald Byrd had returned from a trip to Africa and undergone an artistic epiphany. His Afrocentric explorations resulted in a number of beautiful albums, including 1971’s ETHIOPIAN KNIGHTS, which postdated his incomparable hard bop work with the likes of Sonny Rollins and Pepper Adams, and landed just before his renowned album BLACKBYRD and later ventures into radio-friendly R&B. ETHIOPIAN KNIGHTS stretches into experimental BITCHES BREW territory with rock and soul-jazz rhythms, electronic keyboards, elastic structures and a battery of African percussion. Byrd employs a stellar line-up of West Coast jazz funkateers for these sessions, including the Jazz Crusaders’ Joe Sample and Wilton Felder, and Bobby Hutcherson with members of his band. The vibe here is loose and organic, with full doses of driving funk. ETHIOPIAN KNIGHTS fills in an……Read More