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The Cocaine Years

Read "The Cocaine Years" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

Listeners of a certain age will remember the Saturday Night Live “sound"--all squealing saxophones and twice-removed soul gestures. In this podcast we talk about one possible precursor to the sound and three of its best known practitioners--some of whom may or may not have partaken in Bolivian Marching Powder from time to time. No Pop Matters this round, as it ended up growing so big it got its own .5 edition. Playlist Discussion of Donald Byrd's album Street ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Donald Byrd: Ethiopian Knights

Read "Ethiopian Knights" reviewed by Chris May

Donald Byrd (1932-2013) was a solid and dependable and prolifically recorded hard-bop trumpeter during the style's mid 1950s to mid 1960s heyday, though he was never an innovator, far less an auteur. He later went on to make a string of tedious disco-cum-jazz-funk albums which sold by the truckload. On the cusp of this shift in trajectory, Byrd made a handful of unassailable groove-jazz classics. Ethiopian Knights is the best of them. Such is the enduring demand for ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Donald Byrd: A New Perspective - 1963

Read "Donald Byrd: A New Perspective - 1963" reviewed by Marc Davis

A New Perspective is unlike any jazz album you've heard before--and the change is refreshing. The biggest difference? Voices--singers, but not jazz singers. A New Perspective includes a seven-voice gospel choir, singing wordless syllables. Not scat, but pure notes. At first, the choir feels wrong. The very first notes of this 1963 album are voices. They start with a powerful gospel feel, but then quickly change to a more pop-ish, happy-happy 1960s mode. It's jarring and ...

REASSESSING

Donald Byrd: Slow Drag

Read "Donald Byrd: Slow Drag" reviewed by Greg Simmons

Donald ByrdSlow DragBlue Note2011 (1967) In 1967 trumpeter Donald Byrd was a busy guy, teaching or lecturing at no fewer than four universities. It's a wonder he had time to play, let alone record. Fortunately, he did find the time, and the resulting Slow Drag takes an honorable place in his catalog. The album features Byrd's working unit, fresh off a stint at New York's Five Spot Café. It's ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Donald Byrd: Off To The Races

Read "Donald Byrd: Off To The Races" reviewed by John Barron

Donald Byrd Off To The Races Blue Note Records 2006 (1959)

Detroit was producing a lot more than cars in the 1950s: the city was a breeding ground for an impressive number of hard bop giants. Two of the most dynamic instrumentalists to trek eastward from Motown to the Big Apple were trumpeter Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, leader and featured sideman respectively on Off To The Races.

Off To ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Donald Byrd: Royal Flush

Read "Donald Byrd: Royal Flush" reviewed by Samuel Chell

Donald Byrd Royal Flush Blue Note 2006

One of a handful of Rudy Van Gelder remasters released this past August, Royal Flush would be welcome if only because it's the recording debut of Herbie Hancock. Looking all of fourteen in the photo included with the accompanying booklet (he was 21 at the time), Hancock plays like a seasoned pro on what was, in fact, his actual “maiden voyage." Even apart from the pianist's brilliant ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Donald Byrd Quartet featuring Bobby Jaspar: Au Chat Qui Peche 1958

Read "Au Chat Qui Peche 1958" reviewed by Samuel Chell

Were you to ask trumpeter Donald Byrd what moment in his career he would most like to relive, it would not be surprising if he selected the period documented on this recording. It was the late summer of 1958, and Byrd and his quartet had settled in for an extended gig, including practically carte blanche musical freedom, at a Parisian Left Bank jazz cave called Au Chat Qui Peche. On most occasions the quartet was augmented by the Belgian tenor ...


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