Legendary Jazz Trumpeter Donald Byrd Dies at 80–Death Confirmed


Legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd’s death has been confirmed. Although he died earlier this week, February 4 at the age of 80 , family members for an unexplained reason other were trying to keep the news of his death private.

“I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family,” wrote Bugnon.

Born in Detroit December 9, 1932, Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II was an American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter. A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd is best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a pop artist.

Already an accomplished trumpeter by the time he finished high school, he later went on to play in a military band during his term in the United States Air Force, and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University and a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. His career began when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, as a replacement for Clifford Brown, in the 1950s

Moving away from the hard-bop jazz idiom, Byrd began to record jazz fusion and rhythm and blues. He teamed up with the Mizell Brothers (producer-writers Larry and Fonce) for Black Byrd in 1973. It was highly successful and became Blue Note Records’ highest-ever selling album. The title track climbed to No. 19 on Billboard′s R&B chart and reached the Hot 100 pop chart, peaking at No. 88. The Mizell brothers’ follow-up albums for Byrd, Street Lady, Places and Spaces and Stepping into Tomorrow, were also big sellers, and have subsequently provided a rich source of samples for acid jazz artists such as Us3. Most of the material for the albums was written by Larry Mizell.

In 1973, Byrd created The Blackbyrds, a fusion group consisting of his best students. They scored several major hits including “Happy Music” (No. 3 R&B, No. 19 pop), “Walking In Rhythm” (No. 4 R&B, No. 6 pop) and “Rock Creek Park”.

During his tenure at North Carolina Central University during the 1980’s, he formed a group which included students from the college called, Donald Byrd & the 125th St NYC Band. He taught at Rutgers University, the Hampton Institute, New York University, Howard University, Queens College, Oberlin College, Cornell University, North Carolina Central University and Delaware State University. In addition to his master’s from Manhattan School of Music, Byrd had two master’s degrees from Columbia University. He received a law degree in 1976, and his doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 1982.

According to his nephew Amoeba, Byrd was a “one of a kind trumpeter,” who was known not just for his work in jazz, but also in R&B, soul and funk music, and it was his ability to transcend time and genre and remain relevant that sets his work apart from others.

Byrd lived in Teaneck, New Jersey until his death on February 4, 2013 at the age of 80 The cause of death has yet to be released.

Published in: on February 7, 2013 at 7:59 PM  Leave a Comment  


Friday, December 31st A NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA takes place in the Grand Ballroom at the luxurious waterfront HYATT REGENCY Convention Center located at 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach,CA 92649.

Valet parking is available at the Convention Center.

To RSVP for this event

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 11:14 AM  Leave a Comment  

Famed Saxophonist/Flutist James Moody Passes

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 9 — Famed jazz musician, composer and band leader James Moody died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at the San Diego Hospice, his wife said. He was 85.

Linda McGowan Moody told The San Diego Union-Tribune the saxophonist and flutist, who enjoyed a successful career that spanned six decades, died with his family by his side, following a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

“He couldn’t have gone more peacefully,” Moody told the newspaper.


Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 9:04 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Yellowjackets Sign with Mack Avenue Records

Announced at the 2010 Detroit International Jazz Festival

Mack Avenue Records is proud to announce the signing of Grammy® award winning jazz group, the Yellowjackets. The signing was made official at the 2010 Detroit International Jazz Festival, where the group headlined on the Carhartt Amphitheatre Stage.

Comprised of saxophonist Bob Mintzer, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Will Kennedy (who was a member of the group from 1986-1998 and returned this year), the group joins the Mack Avenue family during its 30th anniversary of making music. (more…)

Concord Music Group Releases Five New Titles In Original Jazz Classics Remasters Series

Remastered recordings set for release on September 28, 2010

Concord Music Group is scheduled to reissue five new titles in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series on September 28, 2010. Originally launched in March 2010 — and enhanced with 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, along with insightful new liner notes — the series showcases some of the most pivotal recordings of the past several decades by artists whose influence on the jazz tradition is beyond measure.

The five new titles in the series are: (more…)

Brad & Elliot Mason Join Forces as The Mason Brothers On “Two Sides, One Story,” Due October 5 from Archival Records

Debut CD by British Siblings in NYC
Features All-Star Cast of
David Kikoski, Scott Colley, Antonio Sanchez,
& Guests Chris Potter, Joe Locke, Tim Miller

Mason Brothers-Two Sides, One Story

The Mason Brothers — trumpeter Brad and trombonist Elliot — have been making music together since they were kids in Norwich, England. Both came to America in the early 1990s on scholarships to Boston’s Berklee College of Music and, after graduating and relocating to New York City, have distinguished themselves in a number of challenging musical settings — Elliot with the Mingus Big Band, Count Basie Orchestra, Maria Schneider Orchestra, and, since 2007, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis, and Brad with Natalie Cole, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Lionel Loueke, the Mingus Big Band, and, since 2007, singer-songwriter John Mayer’s band. (more…)

Gerald Wilson: Keeper of the Flame That’s Still Burnin’

Distinguished Bandleader To Be Included In Two Upcoming Documentaries

Mack Avenue recording artist Gerald Wilson is a legend amongst those in the music community as a premier composer, trumpeter, arranger, bandleader and educator. His work, during his rich and varied seven-decade career, has supported some of the greatest names in jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn and Ray Charles, as well as a scorer for motion pictures and television shows such as Otto Preminger’s “Anatomy Of A Murder” and ABC’s variety program “The Red Foxx Show.”

For more on Gerald Wilson

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 3:27 PM  Leave a Comment  

Chris Massey’s The Nue Jazz Project To Release New Album “Vibrainium” In Aug. 2010

Chris Massey Jazz

Chris Massey above all else is a modern drummer taught in the old tradition of swing; his ethos is to “put his sound” underneath a player and let the fire start to spread. He is currently residing in the New York City area and performing with/leading his newly formed modern jazz group “The Nue Jazz Project”.

For more on Chris Massey’s The Nue Jazz Project

International Vocalist Lua Hadar At San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre June 20 For Summer Solstice Party

Returning to the Bay Area from performances in New York, Lille, Paris and Hollywood, LUA HADAR takes the stage at the Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco, on Sunday, June 20, at 7 pm, with her high-octane band, TWIST, for an international Summer Solstice Party. Music director and pianist Jason Martineau leads the band with Dan Feiszli on bass, Jim Zimmerman on drums, Jaz Sawyer on latin percussion, Tony Malfatti on reeds and Dave Miotke on jazz accordion. Come celebrate Lua’s birthday and welcome her back to the City by the Bay. Dancing in the aisles is definitely encouraged; all ages are welcome. Wine & beer will be available in the lobby. Tickets for Lua Hadar with TWIST in Summer Solstice Party are $17 and can be purchased online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/107079 or by phone at 1-800-838-3006. More info at http://www.luahadar.com

For more on Lua Hadar’s Solstice party

Frank Zappa/ Paul Buff Super Rarities, Unreleased Tracks Abound On Crossfire’s Pal/Original Sound Studios Series!

Floral Park, NY – Crossfire Publications is in the process of releasing a 20-volume series of recordings from the pre-Mothers era, with many unreleased tracks featured. The most notable releases in the series come from Paul Buff, owner of Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California from 1957-1964. The initial six releases took place in March: The Bongo Teens’ “Surfin’ Bongos” (mono and stereo), The Hollywood Persuaders’ “Drums A-Go-Go” (mono and stereo) and “Singles &Rarities,” and “Raw Tracks” featuring both groups. The Bongo Teens featured Buff and fellow Pal associate Dave Aerni (lead guitar), while Buff played nearly all the instruments on the Hollywood Persuaders releases.

For more on Frank Zappa/Paul Buff Super Rarities

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 6:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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