Skip to comments.Jazz Legend Donald Byrd Dead At 80
Posted on 02/08/2013 9:29:38 PM PST by nickcarraway
Influential jazz icon Donald Byrd (pictured) died Monday at the age of 80. The trumpeters passing was confirmed by his nephew, Alex Bugnon, and the cause of death is undisclosed, reports U.K.s The Guardian.
Reportedly, Byrds family had been trying to keep the entertainers death private, but Bugnon blew the lid off, and according to Billboard, publicly announced the passing, I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family, he wrote via Facebook and e-mails. He also revealed that Byrd lived in Delaware but that his funeral would be in Detroit.
Byrd was born December 9, 1932, in Motor City, Detroit. Even before he completed high school, the gifted musician played gigs with one of the countrys premier jazz vibraphonists Lionel Hampton. Not being one of those musicians whose studies take a back seat to their craft, Byrd managed to graduate from Wayne State University and receive a Masters from the Manhattan School of Music. Throughout his career, Byrd worked with musical icons, such as Art Blakely, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonius Monk, and Herbie Hancock. In the 70s, he formed the fusion group The Blackbyrds, and the group quickly spiraled up the music charts pumping out memorable R&B-meets-jazz hits, such as Walking in Rhythm, Rock Creek Park, and Happy Music. Even though Byrds roots were in bebop, he later sashayed into soul and funk, particularly jazz fusion. Enjoy Happy Music here:
Byrds timeless body of work has inspired countless musicians right through modern-day artists, with dozens of his tracks being sampled by such hip-hop recording artists as Naughty By Nature, Nas, and Public Enemy. Always the knowledge seeker, Byrd has taught at such prestigious educational institutions as Rutgers University, Howard University, Cornell University, and New York University, just to name a few. Even after obtaining his Masters from the Manhattan School, Byrd added two more masters from Columbia University. He also received a law degree and doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College. Enjoy Rock Creek Park here:
Bugnon had some parting words over his uncles death, and according to Billboard Magazine, he stated, Lets remember Donald as a one-of-a-kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education, Bugnon was quoted as concluding. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music until his death. Thats what I try to be, everyday!! Rest in peace, uncle!
Byrd, youll be missed
Holy cow, he played with the greatest!
I remember watching when he and the Blackbyrds performed “Walking In Rythym” on American Bandstand back in the day. I wish there were a decent YouTube version of it to share. Rest in peace, Donald Byrd.
Dang. He was one of the greats. Now we have crap like Jay Z and Beyonce...