RIP: Donald Byrd – Love Has Come Around

Legendary Jazz Musician Donald Byrd Dies at 80

Byrd was born in Detroit in 1932, and joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1956, performing on over 50 recordings by the likes of John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean and Hank Mobley, before leading his own group in 1958.

Perhaps best known for his Mizell Brothers-produced 1973 LP Black Byrd, which at one point was Blue Note’s highest-selling LP of all time, Byrd went on to score major hits with his R&B fusion group the Blackbyrds, including dance-floor favorite “Rock Creek Park” and “Walking in Rhythm.”

Byrd’s work spanned decades of jazz and funk, from bebop and soul to R&B, inspiring acid jazz and fusion, always progressive, always testing his limits.

When his output began to wind down, Byrd’s music became even more relevant: He became an essential part of hip-hop’s canon, sampled by everybody from De La Soul, Ice Cube and Tupac to house legend Armand Van Helden, and his sphere of influence became vaster still.


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