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Trumpeter Donald Byrd made many worthwhile records during the sixties. Mustang, the first of four terrific Blue Note sessions Byrd made with ill-fated alto sax man Sonny Red between 1966 and 1967, is one of the great ones. Much of the success of this recording is due in no small part to Red's top-drawer participation. Pianist McCoy Tyner and under-valued tenor great Hank Mobley are exceptional throughout as well. All excel on the "Sidewinder" groove of the title cut, the "Watermelon Man" funk of the excellent "Dixie Lee," the familiar Blue Note bop of Byrd's "Fly Little Bird Fly" and "I'm So Excited By You" and the well-done covers of Grofe's "On The Trail" and Ellington's "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good." The CD also includes two similar bonus tracks ("Gingerbread Boy" and "I'm So Excited By You") recorded by Byrd in 1964 with Jimmy Heath (in place of Red and Mobley) on tenor. Mustang is excellent jazz and a most highly recommended purchase. Next, let's hope Blue Note plans to release Byrd's excellent Blackjack, another superb Byrd-Red collaboration from 1967 featuring Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins.
Tracks: Mustang; Fly Little Bird Fly; I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Dixie Lee; On The Trail; I'm So Excited By You; Gingerbread Boy1; I'm So Excited By You (First Version)1.
Players: Donald Byrd (trumpet) with Sonny Red (alto sax); Hank Mobley (tenor sax); McCoy Tyner (piano); Walter Booker (bass); Freddie Waits (drums); with Jimmy Heath (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano); Walter Booker (bass); Joe Chambers (drums).
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.