Donald Byrd – Black Byrd (1973) [Reissue 2019]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:07 minutes | Front, Scans NOT included | 1,93 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | Front, Scans NOT included | 963 MB
Features Stereo and Quadrophonic Surround Sound | Vocalion # CDSML 8570
A landmark album – Donald Byrd’s first session with producer Larry Mizell, the man who went onto forever change the face of jazz funk! After rumbling around for a few years attempting electric styles that really didn’t fit his mode, Donald wisely hooked up with Larry, and hit a groove here that would carry him for many many years. The album’s a masterpiece of soul – heavy production with great keyboards, creating a nice set of grooves that let Byrd solo over the top, sounding better than he had in years! Great all the way through, and with tracks that include “Flight Time”, “Sky High”, “Black Byrd”, “Slop Jar Blues”, “Mr Thomas”, and the prophetically-titled “Where Are We Going?”.
Purists howled with indignation when Donald Byrd released Black Byrd, a full-fledged foray into R&B that erupted into a popular phenomenon. Byrd was branded a sellout and a traitor to his hard bop credentials, especially after Black Byrd became the biggest-selling album in Blue Note history. What the elitists missed, though, was that Black Byrd was the moment when Byrd’s brand of fusion finally stepped out from under the shadow of his chief influence, Miles Davis, and found a distinctive voice of its own. Never before had a jazz musician embraced the celebratory sound and style of contemporary funk as fully as Byrd did here – not even Davis, whose dark, chaotic jungle-funk stood in sharp contrast to the bright, breezy, danceable music on Black Byrd. Byrd gives free rein to producer/arranger/composer Larry Mizell, who crafts a series of tightly focused, melodic pieces often indebted to the lengthier orchestrations of Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield. They’re built on the most straightforward funk rhythms Byrd had yet tackled, and if the structures aren’t as loose or complex as his earlier fusion material, they make up for it with a funky sense of groove that’s damn near irresistible. Byrd’s solos are mostly melodic and in-the-pocket, but that allows the funk to take center stage. Sure, maybe the electric piano, sound effects, and Roger Glenn’s ubiquitous flute date the music somewhat, but that’s really part of its charm. Black Byrd was state-of-the-art for its time, and it set a new standard for all future jazz/R&B/funk fusions – of which there were many. Byrd would continue to refine this sound on equally essential albums like Street Lady and the fantastic Places and Spaces, but Black Byrd stands as his groundbreaking signature statement.
01. Flight Time
02. Black Byrd
03. Loves So Far Away
04. Mr Thomas
05. Sky High
06. Slop Jar Blues
07. Where Are We Going
Donald Byrd – trumpet, flugelhorn, electric trumpet, vocals
Allen Curtis Barnes – flute, oboe, saxophone
Roger Glenn – saxophone, flute
Fonce Mizell – trumpet, vocals
Larry Mizell – vocals
Kevin Toney – piano
Freddie Perren – piano, synthesizer, vocals
Dean Parks, David T. Walker, Barney Perry – guitar
Joe Sample – piano, electric piano
Chuck Rainey, Wilton Felder, Joe Hill – bass
Harvey Mason, Sr, Keith Killgo – drums
Bobbye Hall Porter, Perk Jacobs, Stephanie Spruill – percussion
King Errisson – congas and bongos
Produced & Arranged by Larry Mizell.
Recorded on April 3 & 4, 1972 at The Sound Factory, Hollywood.
Remastered from the Original Master tapes by Michael J. Dutton.