Your basket is empty

Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

HI-RES$16.49
CD$13.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
This unusual set was one of the most successful uses of a gospel choir in a jazz context. Trumpeter Donald Byrd and a septet that includes tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and pianist Herbie Hancock are joined by an eight-voice choir directed by Coleridge Perkinson. The arrangements by Duke Pearson are masterful and one song, "Cristo Redentor," became a bit of a hit. This is a memorable effort that is innovative in its own way, a milestone in Donald Byrd's career. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
HI-RES$16.49
CD$13.99

Jazz - Released May 7, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Purists howled with indignation when Donald Byrd released Black Byrd, a full-fledged foray into R&B that erupted into a popular phenomenon. Byrd was branded a sellout and a traitor to his hard bop credentials, especially after Black Byrd became the biggest-selling album in Blue Note history. What the elitists missed, though, was that Black Byrd was the moment when Byrd's brand of fusion finally stepped out from under the shadow of his chief influence, Miles Davis, and found a distinctive voice of its own. Never before had a jazz musician embraced the celebratory sound and style of contemporary funk as fully as Byrd did here -- not even Davis, whose dark, chaotic jungle-funk stood in sharp contrast to the bright, breezy, danceable music on Black Byrd. Byrd gives free rein to producer/arranger/composer Larry Mizell, who crafts a series of tightly focused, melodic pieces often indebted to the lengthier orchestrations of Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield. They're built on the most straightforward funk rhythms Byrd had yet tackled, and if the structures aren't as loose or complex as his earlier fusion material, they make up for it with a funky sense of groove that's damn near irresistible. Byrd's solos are mostly melodic and in-the-pocket, but that allows the funk to take center stage. Sure, maybe the electric piano, sound effects, and Roger Glenn's ubiquitous flute date the music somewhat, but that's really part of its charm. Black Byrd was state-of-the-art for its time, and it set a new standard for all future jazz/R&B/funk fusions -- of which there were many. Byrd would continue to refine this sound on equally essential albums like Street Lady and the fantastic Places and Spaces, but Black Byrd stands as his groundbreaking signature statement. © Steve Huey /TiVo
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Reuniting with Larry Mizell, the man behind his last three LPs, Donald Byrd continues to explore contemporary soul, funk, and R&B with Places and Spaces. In fact, the record sounds more urban than its predecessor, which often played like a Hollywood version of the inner city. Keeping the Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, and Sly Stone influences of Street Lady, Places and Spaces adds elements of Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder, which immediately makes the album funkier and more soulful. Boasting sweeping string arrangements, sultry rhythm guitars, rubbery bass, murmuring flügelhorns, and punchy horn charts, the music falls halfway between the cinematic neo-funk of Street Lady and the proto-disco soul of Earth, Wind & Fire. Also, the title Places and Spaces does mean something -- there are more open spaces within the music, which automatically makes it funkier. Of course, it also means that there isn't much of interest on Places and Spaces for jazz purists, but the album would appeal to most fans of Philly soul, lite funk, and proto-disco. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD$11.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 1973 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Not so much a fusion album as an attempt at mainstream soul and R&B, Street Lady plays like the soundtrack to a forgotten blaxploitation film. Producer/arranger/composer Larry Mizell conceived Street Lady as a concept album to a spirited, independent prostitute, and while the hooker with a heart of gold concept is a little trite, the music uncannily evokes an urban landscape circa the early '70s. Borrowing heavily from Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, and Sly Stone, Donald Byrd and Mizell have created an album that is overflowing with wah-wah guitars, stuttering electric pianos, percolating percussion, soaring flutes, and charmingly anemic, tuneless vocals. It's certainly not jazz, or even fusion, but it isn't really funk or R&B, either -- the rhythms aren't elastic enough, and all of the six songs are simply jazzy vamps without clear hooks. But the appeal of Street Lady is how its polished neo-funk and pseudo-fusion sound uncannily like a jive movie or television soundtrack from the early '70s -- you can picture the Street Lady, decked out in polyester, cruising the streets surrounded by pimps with wide-brimmed hats and platform shoes. And while that may not be ideal for jazz purists, it's perfect for kitsch and funk fanatics. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD$16.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Trumpeter Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams worked together on several recordings between 1958 and 1961, and The Cat Walk (released on LP in 1962) is among the best. A quintet setting, with pianist Duke Pearson (another longtime Byrd collaborator), bassist Laymon Jackson, and a lively Philly Joe Jones on drums joining the front line of Byrd and Adams, the sessions for The Cat Walk benefited from the writing and arrangement skills of Pearson, who contributes three compositions here, the impressive opener "Say You're Mine," "Duke's Mixture," and "Hello Bright Sunflower," which borrows its melodic structure from the opening bars of "Lullaby of Broadway" and features Byrd using a muted trumpet. Byrd contributed the title track, which attempts to capture the coiled, taut, but somehow still relaxed and assured gait of a tomcat, thanks in no small part to Jones' inspired drumming which hits the mark with stops and turns and smooth run-outs that are indeed very feline in nature. Byrd's playing throughout is typically sleek and lyrical, and Adams' sturdy, husky baritone sound is the perfect counterbalance, making The Cat Walk an essential Byrd purchase. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
CD$13.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 1971 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Right from the stop-start bass groove that opens "The Emperor," it's immediately clear that Ethiopian Knights is more indebted to funk -- not just funky jazz, but the straight-up James Brown/Sly Stone variety -- than any previous Donald Byrd project. And, like a true funk band, Byrd and his group work the same driving, polyrhythmic grooves over and over, making rhythm the focal point of the music. Although the musicians do improvise, their main objective is to keep the grooves pumping, using their solos more to create texture than harmonic complexity. That's why jazz purists began to detest Byrd with this album (though the follow-ups certainly cinched it); in truth, even though Ethiopian Knights did move Byrd closer to R&B, it's still more jazz than funk, and didn't completely foreshadow his crossover. The dense arrangements and lo-o-o-ng workouts (two of the three tracks are over 15 minutes) are indicative of Byrd's continued debt to Miles Davis, in particular the bevy of live double LPs Davis issued in the early '70s. Byrd again leads a large ensemble, but with mostly different players than on his recent sessions; some come from the group assembled for Bobby Hutcherson's Head On album, others from the Jazz Crusaders. That's part of the reason there are fewer traces of hard bop here, but it's also clear from the title that Byrd's emerging Afrocentric consciousness was leading him -- like Davis -- to seek ways of renewing jazz's connection to the people who created it. Even if it isn't quite as consistent as Kofi and Electric Byrd, Ethiopian Knights is another intriguing transitional effort that deepens the portrait of Byrd the acid jazz legend. © Steve Huey /TiVo
CD$8.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
For this excellent album, trumpeter Donald Byrd teams up with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Walter Davis, Jr., bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor. Together the sextet performs three Byrd originals, two Davis songs and the standard "Witchcraft." Although none of the new tunes caught on, the group (which includes two distinctive saxophonists and the rapidly maturing trumpet of Donald Byrd) plays consistently creative and spirited solos in the hard bop idiom. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
CD$8.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Donald Byrd was at his peak as a straight-ahead hard bop band leader in the early '60s, turning a series of remarkably solid, enjoyable sessions for Blue Note. Royal Flush is no exception to the rule. Recorded in the fall of 1961, Royal Flush finds Byrd once again working with baritionist Pepper Adams, but adding bassist Butch Warren, drummer Billy Higgins, and, most importantly, a young pianist named Herbie Hancock. For the most part, the quintet plays a set of vital hard bop, swinging hard on the bluesy groove "Hush" and laying back on the pop standard "I'm a Fool to Want You." But what's really interesting is when they begin pushing the boundaries of bop. All three of Byrd's original pieces -- "Jorgie's," "Shangri-La," "6M's" -- are harmonically complex and have subtly shifting rhythms; all three are successful, but "Shangri-La" is particularly noteworthy. Similarly, Hancock's graceful "Requiem" calls attention to its fluid melodic lines and rhythm. Throughout the date, Byrd and Adams are typically impressive, alternating between punchy, hard-hitting, and graceful solos, but Hancock is just as good, signaling early on in his career his deep, unique talent. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD$8.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Beginning with a crack of thunder, like it was made to trail Gary Bartz's "Mother Nature" (actually recorded at a slightly later date), Stepping into Tomorrow contains almost all of the Mizell trademarks within its title track's first 30 seconds: a soft and easy (yet still funky) electric-bass-and-drums foundation, silken rhythm guitar, organ and piano gently bouncing off one another, light synthesizer shading, and coed group vocals to ensure true liftoff. It's only one in a line of many magnetic '70s sessions led by Fonce and Larry Mizell, and it differs from their two previous Donald Byrd dates -- the polarizing and groundbreaking Black Byrd and the deceptively excellent Street Lady -- by not featuring any of Roger Glenn's flute, and by focusing on heavily melodic and laid-back arrangements. Even the speedy "You Are the World," by some distance the most energetic song, seems more suited for relaxing in a hammock than shooting down a freeway. Many of the musicians present on the previous Byrd-Mizell meetings are here, including drummer Harvey Mason, bassist Chuck Rainey, keyboardist Jerry Peters, and guitarist David T. Walker. As ever, those who pined for the approach of Byrd's '60s dates would tune out a sublime set of material, but maybe some of those who sniffed at the straightforward nature of some of the rhythms and riffing were won over by the supreme layering of the many components (the way in which "Think Twice" lurches forward, peels back, and gathers steam is nothing short of heavenly), not to mention some deeply evocative playing from Byrd himself. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Fuego -- a title that might be somewhat misleading -- is the final Blue Note recording exclusively pairing Donald Byrd with Jackie McLean, a fruitful partnership that set the yin of the (in this case) restrained trumpeter, against the yang of the tart and extroverted alto saxophonist. While not quite a unified whole, the two were involved in turf battles that were based on mutual respect, here exuding a quieter fire that toned down McLean and muted Byrd to attain an intriguing harmonic balance. Duke Pearson's clever piano in the middle, with Doug Watkins playing bass and favored drummer Lex Humphries, made for one of the more diverse sounds in modern jazz circa 1959-1960. Of course hard bop is at the core of this band, but Byrd is moving further into post-bop, as served up heartily by the two horns during the modal, rambling, and staggered theme of the title selection. It's more a cool flame than burning inferno, as the drum inserts of Humphries fill the cracks of the horns' bluesy ideas. "Bup-A-Loup" is a harder bop theme, with distinct staccato accents identifying the melody priming McLean's quintessential solo. "Low Life" also takes into account the burgeoning original soul-jazz aesthetic in a jaunty mood that parallels the Bobby Timmons evergreens "Dis Here" and "Dat Dere." As Byrd's father was a preacher, "Amen" pays tribute to the spirit-soul in a gospel shuffle straight from the pulpit with some static drum accents. "Lament" is not the J.J. Johnson standard, but a light, soul-jazz original with ultimate feeling, depth, and sophistication -- a real beauty. The title "Funky Mama" fools you a bit into thinking it is a typical soul-jazz number, while it is, in fact, a long, striding, loping, cushy, and dusky blues, very patient and elegant, embellished by McLean's singing alto. This is where Pearson in particular shines, wringing out all of the combined pain and joy so prevalent in the styles of previous masters like Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, and Tommy Flanagan. On the front cover, a contemplative Donald Byrd is depicted, perhaps pondering his next move and his band five years after successfully joining the New York City jazz scene from his native Detroit. It also represents his thoughtful role in Fuego, as he takes a break from forceful interaction to play a more democratic role on this refined and mature album that is less brash, a prelude for his more powerful statements yet to come. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
CD$11.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 1970 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Donald Byrd's transitional sessions from 1969-1971 are actually some of the trumpeter's most intriguing work, balancing accessible, funky, Davis-style fusion with legitimate jazz improvisation. Electric Byrd, from 1970, is the best of the bunch, as Byrd absorbs the innovations of Bitches Brew and comes up with one of his most consistent fusion sets of any flavor. Byrd leads his largest fusion group yet (ten to 11 pieces), featuring many of his cohorts of the time (including Jerry Dodgion, Lew Tabackin, and Frank Foster on various woodwinds). Most important are electric pianist Duke Pearson, who once again dominates the arrangements, and percussionist Airto Moreira, who in places lends a strong Brazilian feel that predates Return to Forever. Moreira also contributes one of the four compositions, "Xibaba," which starts out as an airy Brazilian tune but morphs into a free-form effects extravaganza; the rest are Byrd originals that prove equally imaginative and diverse. The Brazilian-tinged opener "Estavanico" has a gentle, drifting quality that's often disrupted by jarring dissonances. There's also the shifting -- and sometimes even disappearing -- slow groove of "Essence," and the hard-edged, bop-based funk of "The Dude." Much of the album has a spacy, floating feel indebted to the psychedelic fusion of Bitches Brew; it's full of open-ended solo improvisations, loads of amplification effects, and striking sonic textures. The arrangements are continually surprising, and the band never works the same groove too long, switching or completely dropping the underlying rhythms. So even if it wears its influences on its sleeve, Electric Byrd is indisputably challenging, high-quality fusion. It's also the end of the line for jazz purists as far as Donald Byrd is concerned, which is perhaps part of the reason the album has yet to receive its proper due. © Steve Huey /TiVo
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Slow Drag was one of trumpeter Donald Byrd's final hard bop dates. Teamed with altoist Sonny Red, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Billy Higgins (who takes a surprise vocal on the title cut), this quintet outing features originals by Byrd, Walton and Red along with the standards "Secret Love" and "My Ideal." The music in general finds Byrd looking both backwards toward the blues and forwards toward modal music and hints of the avant-garde. A fine effort. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
CD$8.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
From the crackling opening notes of "Lover Come Back to Me," it's clear that Off to the Races is one of Donald Byrd's most invigorating sessions of the late '50s. Working with a stellar supporting band -- Jackie McLean (alto sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Pepper Adams (bari sax), Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums) -- Byrd turns in one of his strongest recordings of the era. Throughout the album, Byrd switches between hard bop, ballads, laid-back blues, and soul-jazz. Two of the numbers are standards, one is a cover, and three are Byrd originals, but what matters is the playing. Over the course of the album, Byrd proves he has matured greatly as a soloist, capable of sweet, melodic solos on the slower numbers and blistering runs of notes on the faster songs. McLean is just as vigorous and lyrical, contributing some fine moments to the record, as do Adams and Kelly. There's nothing surprising about Off to the Races; it's simply a set of well-performed, enjoyable hard bop, but sometimes that's enough. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD$12.99

Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This album was Byrd's debut for Elektra/Asylum and a return to the charts after the demise of Blue Note Records. After taking a brief hiatus from recording, Byrd got right back in the business of commercial jazz/R&B while the purists again recoiled in horror. During the '70s, he was one of the leaders at making intelligent, R&B-based jazz with high selling albums, Black Byrd and Places And Spaces, both produced by Larry Mizell and Fonce Mizell. Thank You...For F.U.M.L. (Funking Up My Life) has Byrd producing himself, taking disco much too seriously and straying too far from his jazz roots. Although this does feature his 125th Street Orchestra, which included Wah Wah Watson, Ed Watkins, and Gregory Phillinganes, they paled in comparison to his 1972-1975 bands. The disco-fied "In Love With Love" isn't even suited for Byrd's trumpet blaring in the background. The other dance tracks, "Have You Heard the News?" and the title track, almost take a scientific approach to disco, and to that end there's little spontaneity. Byrd did much better with the melodically challenging songs on the album. Tracks like the assured "Your Love Is My Ecstasy" and the sharp, mid-tempo "Loving You" has him animated and playing recondite and rewarding notes. By the album's last song, "Close Your Eyes and Look Within," it's clear that the relative lightweight nature of Thank You...For F.U.M.L. (Funking Up My Life) wasn't going to bring out the best in him or the listener. © Jason Elias /TiVo
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Donald Byrd, a talented hard bop trumpeter during his prime (although rarely reaching the technical heights of Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard), performs a varied repertoire on Mustang!. "Dixie Lee" has dated rhythms, and "Mustang" was an attempt to achieve a hit on the level of Morgan's "The Sidewinder." However, Byrd sounds fine on those numbers; he digs into the complex chord changes of "Fly Little Bird Fly," is sensitive on "I Got It Bad," swings on his "I'm So Excited by You," and performs his memorable countermelody to "On the Trail," which had been recorded earlier by several other musicians. Teamed with a typically impressive Blue Note crew (altoist Sonny Red, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Walter Booker, and drummer Freddie Waits), Byrd performs high-quality straight-ahead jazz that fits the modern mainstream of the era. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
1969's Fancy Free marked the beginning of Donald Byrd's move away from hard bop, staking out fusion-flavored territory that -- at this juncture -- owed more to Miles Davis than the R&B-dominated jazz-funk Byrd would embrace several years down the road. Recorded just a few months after Davis' In a Silent Way, Fancy Free finds Byrd leading a large ensemble prominently featuring Frank Foster on tenor, Lew Tabackin or Jerry Dodgion on flute, and several percussionists. But the most important piece of the puzzle is Duke Pearson's electric piano, the first time Byrd utilized the instrument. Pearson dominates the texture of the group sound, which makes the entirety of the session seem farther outside the realm of funky hard bop than it actually is. However, that's not to say that Fancy Free isn't a clear break with Byrd's past -- especially the two Byrd originals that open the album. The title track -- which later became one of Byrd's more covered compositions -- contrasts Pearson's spacy musings with a busy, funky percussion groove, and there's a loose, open feel to the improvisations that breaks with hard bop conventions. The warm ballad "I Love the Girl" has a similarly airy feel, and at eight and a half minutes, is the shortest cut; clearly Byrd wanted an open framework for exploration. The other two numbers are more traditional hard bop compositions by former Byrd students, which -- although funky and full of improvisations -- can't help but feel more tethered than their predecessors. Still, even if it isn't his most adventurous fusion outing, Fancy Free is the rare Donald Byrd album that holds appeal for rare-groove fanatics and traditionalists alike. © Steve Huey /TiVo
CD$12.99

Jazz - Released January 1, 1973 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
HI-RES$11.99
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Purists howled with indignation when Donald Byrd released Black Byrd, a full-fledged foray into R&B that erupted into a popular phenomenon. Byrd was branded a sellout and a traitor to his hard bop credentials, especially after Black Byrd became the biggest-selling album in Blue Note history. What the elitists missed, though, was that Black Byrd was the moment when Byrd's brand of fusion finally stepped out from under the shadow of his chief influence, Miles Davis, and found a distinctive voice of its own. Never before had a jazz musician embraced the celebratory sound and style of contemporary funk as fully as Byrd did here -- not even Davis, whose dark, chaotic jungle-funk stood in sharp contrast to the bright, breezy, danceable music on Black Byrd. Byrd gives free rein to producer/arranger/composer Larry Mizell, who crafts a series of tightly focused, melodic pieces often indebted to the lengthier orchestrations of Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield. They're built on the most straightforward funk rhythms Byrd had yet tackled, and if the structures aren't as loose or complex as his earlier fusion material, they make up for it with a funky sense of groove that's damn near irresistible. Byrd's solos are mostly melodic and in-the-pocket, but that allows the funk to take center stage. Sure, maybe the electric piano, sound effects, and Roger Glenn's ubiquitous flute date the music somewhat, but that's really part of its charm. Black Byrd was state-of-the-art for its time, and it set a new standard for all future jazz/R&B/funk fusions -- of which there were many. Byrd would continue to refine this sound on equally essential albums like Street Lady and the fantastic Places and Spaces, but Black Byrd stands as his groundbreaking signature statement. © Steve Huey /TiVo
HI-RES$11.99
CD$10.49

Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio