This clip of the "Donald Byrd Quintet" featuring Donald Byrd on trumpet, Bobby Jaspar flute, Walter Davis Jr piano, Doug Watkins bass, and Art Taylor drums was
Recorded Live in Cannes, France in 1958.
Donald Byrd (born Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, December 9, 1932, Detroit, Michigan) is an American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter. A notable sideman for many fellow Blue Note Records artists, Byrd is best remembered as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a pop artist.
In 1973, he created The Blackbyrds, a fusion group consisting of his best students. They scored several major hits including "Happy Music" (#3 R&B, #19 pop), "Walking In Rhythm" (#4 R&B, #6 pop) and "Rock Creek Park".
Byrd attended Cass Technical High School and had already performed with Lionel Hampton before graduating. After playing in a military band during a term in the United States Air Force, he obtained a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music.
While still at the Manhattan School, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers,as replacement for Clifford Brown. In 1955, he recorded with Jackie McLean and Mal Waldron. After leaving the Jazz Messengers in 1956, he performed with a wide variety of highly regarded jazz musicians, including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, and Thelonious Monk.
Byrd's first full-time band was a quintet that he co-led from 1958-61 with Pepper Adams, an ensemble whose hard driving performances are captured "live" on At the Half Note Cafe. In June 1964, Byrd jammed with jazz legend Eric Dolphy in Paris just two weeks before Dolphy's death from insulin shock.
In the 1970s, he moved away from his previous hard-bop jazz base and began to record jazz fusion, Jazz-funk, soul-Jazz, and rhythm and blues. He teamed up with the Mizell Brothers (producer-writers Larry and Fonce) for Black Byrd in 1972. It was highly successful and became Blue Note Records' highest-ever selling album. The title track climbed to #19 on Billboard's R&B chart and reached the Hot 100 pop chart, peaking at #88. The Mizell brothers' follow-up albums for Byrd, Street Lady, Places and Spaces and Steppin' Into Tomorrow were also big sellers, and have subsequently provided a rich source of samples for acid jazz artists such as Us3. Most of the material for the albums was written by Larry Mizell.
In 1994, Byrd appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time Magazine.
He has taught music at Rutgers University, the Hampton Institute, New York University, Howard University, Queens College, Oberlin College, Cornell University and Delaware State University.
In addition to his Masters from Manhattan School of Music, Byrd has two masters from Columbia University. Byrd received a law degree in 1976, and his doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 1982.
In September 2009, he was named an artist-in-residence at Delaware State University. Byrd lives in Teaneck, New Jersey