A Tribute to Donald Byrd + More

Velanche’s Playtime 029

From the Velanche.com website:


On the morning of this episode’s recording, I’ve learned on Facebook that Donald Byrd passed away a few days’ prior–Monday, February 4th.

This was the Donald Byrd of the 1970′s that I grew up listening to on black radio here in California, the Donald Byrd whose favorites of mine include “Stepping Into Tomrorow,” “Change (Makes You Want to Hustle),” and, with his group The Blackbyrds, “Rock Creek Park” and “Walking in Rhythm.” At first, I was appalled to have only found out that day, and wondered why it was that his death wasn’t announced earlier in the week, and commented on such lackluster coverage he was receiving, if any. But as I’ve read a little later on, perhaps his loved ones needed to be found and notified properly before the rest of the world.

In any event the Donald Byrd I knew had great music before I even knew about jazz fusion; I knew about the music, but didn’t have a name attached to it for years. It wasn’t until much later, and that was also the time that I found out about the Mizell Brothers and its influence on some of the best known fusion of jazz and soul of that era.

I”m not at all familiar with his jazz contributions prior to that period, but he’s surely contributed immensely, having played along revered talent such as Coltrane, Hancock, and even Blakey. His long association with Blue Note, and of other short, but no less important, stints such as Savoy, helped made Donald Byrd one of the great treasures of the jazz world.

The world should be thankful that he had the bravery to leap from the standard jazz tradition and into the jazz fusion world, influenced by the great Miles Davis. Like Davis, purists scorned Byrd as sacrilege. Unlike Miles, Byrd arguably had greater commercial success. And I would argue that unlike George Benson, who was also scorned when he veered into the pop music world, Byrd’s music of the 1970′s was catchy and infectious, but was also highly influential not only to the immediate generation like mine that grew uip with it, but also of many folks whose music I’ve aired on my my radio shows over the years that, no matter the age, touted Donald Byrd as an absolute influence in their own music.

On this week’s edition of the show, I start off with a musical tribute to the Donald Byrd I grew iup with. I’m sure there are others who will give him the proper tribute of his pre-1970′s era sounds, but I give you those which inspire me. I hope you enjoy it.

And as ever, there’s also plenty of new music abound to fill up the three hours, so please feel free to take it all in.

Thanks for reading, and for listening…and may Donald Byrd rest in power.

Velanche’s Playtime 029
Played on February 7, 2013

Song – Artist – Title – Label
Lansanna’s Priestess – Donald Byrd – Blue Note
Happy Music – The Blackbyrds – BOP
Walking in Rhythm – The Blackbyrds – BOP
Love Has Come Around – Donald Byrd – Blue Note
Rock Creek Park – The Blackbyrds – BOP
Think Twice – Donald Byrd – Blue Note
Change (Makes You Want to Hustle) – Donald Byrd – Blue Note
Stepping Into Tomorrow – Donald Byrd – Blue Note
Street Lady – Donald Byrd – Blue Note
My Love – Tromaca – Virgin Island EP – Brownswood
So Many Details – Toro & Moi – Anything in Return – Carpark
Outta My Head (featuring Chris Turner) – Jesse Boykins III and MeLo-X – Zulu Guru – Ninja Tune
Chingata – Captain Planet featuring Chigiyo – Mixtape Riot EP – Bastard Jazz
Bika – Seravince – Hear To See – MOOVMNT
Heart Seed (featuring Leah Alvarez & Martin Perna) – DJ Sun – On Hundred – Soular Productions
Stop and Look – Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics – Wax Poetics
The Frog – Heidi Vogel – Far Out
L’Etrange – Caroline Lacaze & the Mocambo Electric Sound Orchestra – Mocambo
Somewhere Over There – Dobie – We Will Not Harm You – Big Dada
Robots and Angels (Claws For ? Remix) – Bev Lee Harling – EP – Wah Wah 45s
Throw Down featuring Neighbour and Think Twice (Featurecast Remix) – All Good Funk Alliance – Jacks of All Trades Remixed EP2 – Fort Knox
Kenny Rolls One – FaltyDL – Hardcourage – Ninja Tune
1983 (featuring Hogni Egilsson) – Ian Pooley – What I Do – Plant Music
1974 – Colors Soundsystem – Sementes Ardentes EP – Lovemonk
Mystik Mountain – Hannes Fischer – Based on Misunderstandings 06 EP – Sonar Kollektiv
Over – Ian Pooley – What I Do – Plant Music
Hide (featuring Miss Kitten) – Kris Menace – Features – Compuphonic
Trusting Me (featuring Robert Owens) – Kirs Menace – Features – Compuphonic
Movement Obsession (Disco Version) – Missoless – EP – ManyVibes
Last Beat (Matty C Remix) – DJ Eleven featuring Marisela – EP – 11 Inch
Jungle Kitten (Casbah 73 Rework) – Manfredo Fest – EP – KAT
Puxa (Beat Laden Remix) – Batida – EP – Soundway
Day After Day – Susan Cadogan & The Crate Corporation – Record Kicks
Lady Colour – Troumaca – Virgin Island EP – Brownswood