4

Howard University Jazz Ensemble 2013: A Tribute to Donald Byrd

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Howard University Jazz Ensemble 2013: A Tribute to Donald Byrd When Fred Irby III took the reins as director of the Howard University Jazz Ensemble in 1975, one of his earliest and most pivotal decisions was to usher the ensemble into a recording studio once each year to produce an album designed to offer a musical vignette of its proficiency at that point in time. From 1976-88 the albums were vinyl; since then, they've been recorded annually on compact disc. On their latest enterprise, HUJE 2013, Irby and the ensemble pay tribute to the late trumpeter Donald Byrd who—breaking news—established and led the university's first Jazz Studies program in 1968.

The Donald Byrd remembered here is the straight-ahead Detroit-bred bopper from the '50s and '60s, not the man who later gained some commercial success in the areas of soul music, funk and electronic jazz. The program is similarly plain-spoken, embracing genial themes by Thelonious Monk, Clare Fischer, Kenny Dorham, Benny Carter, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and others, including one composition ("Nai Nai") by Byrd himself. Completing the program are the standards "Alice in Wonderland" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," and the playful "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat" from the 1970 animated film The Aristocats.

As always, Irby has the ensemble well-prepared and eager to face the microphones. There are no missteps on this outing, only admirable performances by sections and soloists alike, opening with Monk's familiar "In Walked Bud" and closing with the well-grooved "Silver's Serenade." There are features along the way for alto saxophonists Steven Garrison (Carter's sumptuous "Evening Star") and Ashton Vines ("I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face") and tenor Kenneth Nunn ("Alice in Wonderland") to complement impressive solos elsewhere by pianists Joseph Wilson and Gregory Chambers, trumpeter Jared Bailey, trombonist Jarvis Hooper and drummer Cedric Edmon II.

Aside from his connection to Howard University, Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II (he was named in part for the father of independent Haiti) was beyond any doubt one of the more influential jazz trumpeters of the twentieth century, which alone would warrant the sort of earnest homage paid here by the school's foremost jazz ensemble. Well done.


Track Listing: In Walked Bud; Morning; Alice in Wonderland; Una Mas (One More Time); Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat; Nai Nai; Evening Star; I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face; One by One; Silver’s Serenade.

Personnel: Fred Irby III: director; Jonathon Neal: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jared Bailey: trumpet, flugelhorn; Anthony Daniel: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alexander Parchment: trumpet, flugelhorn; Larry Jenkins Jr.: trumpet, flugehorn; Dawn Wilson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ashton Vines: alto, soprano sax, flute; Steven Garrison: alto sax; Kenneth Nunn: tenor sax; Royce Hodnett: tenor sax; Brandon Barnett: baritone sax; Christopher Steele: trombone; Curry Hackett: trombone; Jarvis Hooper: trombone; Lloyd Owens Jones III: trombone; Isaac Bell IV: bass trombone; Joseph Wilson: piano; Gregory Chambers: piano; Adrian Layne: piano; Rick Peralta: electric guitar; Deante Haggerty-Willis: electric guitar; Eliot Seppa: acoustic, electric bass; David Bamber: acoustic, electric bass; Cedric Edmon II: drums; Bria Alexander: drums, percussion; Daniel Bamber: vibes, percussion; Brittany Jiles: vibes, percussion.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Of Sound Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Of Sound Mind
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "OUTgoing" CD/LP/Track Review OUTgoing
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 31, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!