429

Donald Byrd: Byrd in Hand (RVG Edition)

By

Sign in to view read count
Donald Byrd: Byrd in Hand (RVG Edition)
Of the jazz trumpeters who blazed a trail during the 1950s and '60s, Donald Byrd has never really gotten his due. He came into his own at the same time as Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Kenny Dorham, etc. were on the scene, unjustly diverting some attention away from Byrd. Yet a listen to a small part of his recorded output reveals a trumpeter with a well-developed penchant for lyricism and who, over time, learned to use space as effectively in his improvisations as Miles himself.

Byrd In Hand, Byrd’s second album for Blue Note Records, features him with his frequent collaborator, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams. The front-line is augmented with tenor man Charlie Rouse and the rhythm section includes Walter Davis Jr., Sam Jones and Art Taylor.

The proceedings kick off in elegant style with a gorgeous rendition of “Witchcraft” that makes expert use of a rhythmic suspension. Byrd’s sensitive rendering of the standard features forceful punctuations by Rouse and Adams that illustrate the orchestral possibilities of a three-man front-line and up the romantic quotient of the tune. Byrd then takes a two-chorus solo, a thoughtful improvisation full of memorable lines.

This nuanced approach continues on the moody “Here Am I” with Byrd again playing in a very subdued, yet impressive, style, aided by a very catchy saxophone vamp. His solo and statement of the theme contrast nicely with Adams’ more forceful thoughts.

The astonishing promise of “Witchcraft” and “Here Am I” does not carry through the rest of Byrd in Hand, though, which has the band stuck firmly in hard-bop territory with less memorable results. However, of pianist Walter Davis Jr.’s two contributions to the album, “Bronze Dance” is particularly good. It boasts a well-composed theme and an improvisational framework that alternates between jazz and Latin rhythms.

The album’s closer, “The Injuns,” is Byrd’s take on the changes of Ray Noble’s “Cherokee.” While some may argue that the tune relies on a stereotypical conception of Native American music, there’s no doubt that what Byrd has come up with works extremely well. Byrd, Rouse, Adams and Davis Jr. all turn in inspired solos, and Byrd in Hand ends with drummer Art Taylor hammering out a throbbing rhythm on his tom-toms.

As part of Blue Note’s Rudy Van Gelder Edition series, Byrd in Hand features state-of-the-art remastering by the legendary engineer. Simply put, the sound is amazing, making the treasures found within Byrd in Hand that much easier to enjoy.

Track Listing

Witchcraft; Here Am I; Devil Whip; Bronze Dance; Clarion Calls; The Injuns

Personnel

Donald Byrd - trumpet; Charlie Rouse - tenor saxophone; Pepper Adams - baritone saxophone; Walter Davis Jr. - piano; Sam Jones - bass; Art Taylor - drums

Album information

Title: Byrd in Hand (RVG Edition) | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read When You Find It
When You Find It
Arthur White and Merge
Read Rainbow Baby
Rainbow Baby
Cathlene Pineda
Read An Open Dialogue
An Open Dialogue
Linda Sikhakhane
Read Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah!
The Claire Daly Band
Read Artlessly Falling
Artlessly Falling
Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Read Hi-Fly
Hi-Fly
Howard University Jazz Ensemble
Read And Then It Rained
And Then It Rained
The Michael O'Neill Quartet

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.