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

Year Released: 1959 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "A Kenton Celebration" CD/LP/Track Review A Kenton Celebration
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by John Sharpe
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Falga" CD/LP/Track Review Falga
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!