Cappuccino Soul

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Places and Spaces of Donald Byrd

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Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II

              Dec. 9, 1932 - Feb. 4, 2013
Trumpeter Donald Byrd lent his intoxicating sounds to musicians as heady as John Coltrane to contemporary masters such as Tupac. And when you consider the artists that either sampled Byrd’s work or outright had him blow his trumpet on their creations, Byrd’s reach in hip hop, jazz, fusion, and funk is prolific.

I’m sad to say that this grand master of music, Donald Byrd has passed away. Byrd represented home to me. Every time I hear recordings like “You and Music,” “Change: Makes You Wanna Hustle,” “Places and Spaces,” “Wind Parade,” “Rock Creek Park” (this one takes me to D.C.), “Steppin’ Into Tomorrow,” I think of the faces and spaces of my friends and time in Delaware. And so it’s fitting I guess, that Byrd died in Delaware. In 2009, Delaware State University named Byrd as a distinguished artist-in-residence, and I know he lent his musical knowledge and passion to the music students at the school during his tenure there. He also developed a “Music is Math is Art” education program that he has introduced to young people across the country.

Dr. Byrd drew a parallel between his life and the life of world famous jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, an influential 1950s Wilmington, Del.-born musician who attended Delaware State College.

“Like my father I never drank or smoked…. Clifford Brown didn’t drink or smoke,” Dr. Byrd said. “This school (Delaware State) is outstanding, and here I am just trying to follow in Brownie's footsteps.”

Dr. Byrd, thank you for your vivid and moving sounds that whirl around in my head from time to time and make me feel all the comforts of home.

Read more about Byrd in London’s The Guardian:

Legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd has died, says nephew Influential musician's nephew reports that he died on Monday in Delaware, where he lived



2 comments:

VERB said...

This is yet another huge loss for me. I'm still trying to get over last year's transitions of MCA (Beastie Boys), Jose Robert Bertrami (Azymuth), and the incomparable Terry Callier. Dr. Byrd is in my list of favorite top five trumpeters. He will be missed. Now on my way to have a mini Donald Byrd concert in my living room. BE peace.

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

VERB,

Yes, it's been quite a sad year with lots of loss in the music world. Dr. Byrd has to be one of the more innovative trumpeters of all time. He certainly is one of the most sampled musicians -- ever. I've already had several mini Donald Byrd concerts and there's more to come!

Be well.
alicia