The Jazz Jouster’s 18th album pays tribute to American Jazz/R&B trumpeter Donald Byrd. This album features production from Blue Buttonz, Bones The Beat Head, Es-K, Gadget, SmokedBeat, Jaze Baqti, and Piegondust. What makes Flocking Together different from previous Jazz Jouster releases is that each producer sampled their own Donald Byrd piece, as opposed to one entire piece produced in its entirety. Flocking Together was a last minute project organized immediately after Donald Byrd’s death on February 4, 2013.
Born on December 9, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan – Donald Byrd was an accomplished trumpeter by the time he graduated high school. After a brief tour in the US Air Force, where he played in the military band, Donald went onto to college and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Wayne State University in 1954. His academic education did not stop there – he attended Manhattan School of Music and graduated with a Master’s degree.
After performing in various bands as a sideman, by 1958 legendary Blue Note Records had signed had signed Donald to an exclusive recording contract. During his stint at Blue Note he went onto to release 24 albums, which included his debut Off to the Races, as well as other seminal album such as: Byrd in Hand (1959), At the Half Note (1960), The Cat Walk (1961), and Royal Flush (1960). It was during the Blue Note’s era that he discovered and influenced, at the time, a young Herbie Hancock.
One of his earlier recordings was Byrd Jazz and Byrd’s Eye View in 1955 with record label Transition which later was re-released through Blue Note.
By the mid 1960’s – Donald Byrd directed his life and work toward teaching and making Jazz music and its history a “legitimate part of college curriculum.” He taught Jazz music at Rutgers, Hampton, New York University, and Howard throughout the 60’s and into the early 70s. During his teaching tenure, he began studying African music, inspired by the black-conscious movement, and began experimenting with electronic and funk rhythms to court the interest of students.
His career span was 58 years long and included over 70 releases as band leader and sideman. His work has been sampled over 200 times by recognizing and tracking entities such as WhoSampled.com.
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