Legendary Jazz musician and trumpet player Donald Byrd has been confirmed dead (February 7) by family members. Amoeba Music has pointed out that Byrd’s nephew, Alex Bugnon took to Facebook to report the death which actually happened Monday (February 4). The relative added, “I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family.” Byrd is believed to have been 80 years old.
Hip-Hop Wired also covered Byrd’s death, and highlighted some of the horn players Hip Hop connections. Hits such as Main Source’s “Looking At The Front Door,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Brand New Funk” and Organized Konfusion’s “Stray Bullet,” among many others all were built on Byrd’s (and The Blackbyrds’ catalog). Additionally, Byrd’s cover to 1963’s A New Perspective was recreated for Tone-Loc’s 1989 debut, Loc-Ed After Dark.
Byrd is widely recognized for pioneering the implementation of a choir on a Jazz album. A Blue Note Records star, Byrd also recorded for Savoy, Prestige, Elektra and Columbia Records. Prior to his 1959 solo debut, Byrd played on albums by Cannonball Adderly and Art Blakely. Later in his career, he worked extensively with Herbie Hancock, Cal Tjader and Wes Montgomery. Byrd, a Detroit, Michigan native, also worked with the late Guru on his first two volumes of Jazzmatazz.
In addition to his Jazz legacy, Byrd (especially with his Blackbyrds group) worked in Soul and Funk music.
HipHopDX would like to send our condolences to the Byrd family and his many fans.