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Donald Byrd: Donald Byrd Live: Cookin' With Blue Note at Montreux

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Donald Byrd: Donald Byrd Live: Cookin' With Blue Note at Montreux
With the release of his chart-topping, funk-fueled Black Byrd in 1973, Donald Byrd found himself in a volatile place in jazz circles. He was being hailed as having finally stepped out of Miles Davis' considerable shadow, while simultaneously many found the album to be Byrd's selling out his bop legacy for chart success. As most defining artistic moments reveal, a little of both were true.

Produced and arranged by the brothers Fonce Mizelland Larry Mizell, Black Byrd incorporated Motown's universal sense of rhythm and groove with the upfront horns and the then-nascent cosmic sounds of synthesizers and electric pianos. Perhaps it was just a little too much too soon. And perhaps none of this bothered Byrd at all. He just went on about his creative business like true creatives do, determined and undaunted.

So putting a band together and getting the grit before the people was the mission of that summer, and at Montreux Byrd and his small army took the beachhead. With "Shaft" like grooves and urgent funk methodology of equal parts rock insurgency (Sly and the Family Stone), electric Miles Davis, and genre-bending Herbie Hancock, to say the heat starts high and cookin' just about says it all.

Set for first time release on what would have been the trumpeter's 90th birthday (December 9, 2022), Donald Byrd Live: Cookin' with Blue Note at Montreux is a previously unheard, electric, fire breathing set from the Montreux Jazz Festival, July 5, 1973, that blazes in early fusion glory. A fierce and relentless percolation spikes the opening "Black Byrd" and the set simmers close to a boil thereafter. With the Mizell brothers beside him on their respective synths and horns, Byrd leads a ten-piece invasion proving exactly who's who, despite the chit and chatter from the naysaying scholars and pundits. Keeping the groove hot and in place, tenor sax/flutist Allan Barnes and fellow saxophonist Nathan Davis, electric pianist Kevin Toney, guitarist Barney Perry, bassist Henry Franklin, drummer Keith Killgo, and percussionist Ray Armando build on the serpentine, chunka-chunka/chicka-chicka rhythm of "The East" to climax on the high bop centered "Kwami" and frantic "Poco-Mania." Cookin' just about says it all.

Track Listing

Black Byrd; You've Got It Bad Girl; The East; Introductions; Kwame; Poco-Mania.

Personnel

Donald Byrd
trumpet
Fonce Mizell
trumpet
Allan Barnes
saxophone, tenor
Nathan Davis
saxophone
Larry Mizell
synthesizer
Ray Armando
percussion
Additional Instrumentation

Donald Byrd: flugelhorn, vocals; Fonce Mizell: vocals; Keith Killgo: vocals.

Album information

Title: Live: Cookin' With Blue Note at Montreux | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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