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Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
December 7, 2018

DonaldByrdNBCcom

 

Donald Byrd / Photo: NBC.com

 

 

This month we honor the musical contributions and Jazz artistry of trumpeter, Donald Byrd, born Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II in Detroit on Dec. 9, 1932 and who died in Delaware on 2/4/13 at the age of 80.

 

 

World-renowned trumpeter, Donald Byrd, is one of the most successful musicians to come out of Detroit. Like so many other music greats from the motor city, he was inspired by the legendary music program at Cass Technical High School, using it to further his education even more. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University he moved to New York and received a master’s degree in music education from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.

 

 

Donald Byrd became a cross-generational, natural master of various Jazz sub-genre. He became known throughout the many facets of the Jazz world as his prolific career spanned many diverse style periods from Hard Bop to Soul Jazz and Fusion.. His calling card was his warm, pure tone and flawless technique which enabled him to play with some of the most important and influential artists and style makers in Jazz, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and drummer Art Blakey who were all drawn to his unique musical abilities.
During the 1970s he released many commercially successful albums including “Blackbyrd” in 1973, produced by the brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who had been his students at Howard University in Washington.

 

 

DByrdBlackBrydAmazon

 

Donald Byrd’s “Blackbyrd” album on Blue Note Records

 

 

The album remains one of the best-selling albums in the history of Blue Note records. Yet, he received a lot of criticism from some members of the Jazz community who felt he had “sold out” because, like other Jazz artists of that period, he was fusing his music with funk grooves, R&B, world and more.

 

The music also utilized more amplified instruments and special effects, such as wah-wah guitar. They were merely reflecting the current music of that period which is what Jazz has done all along.

 

 

I find it sad when an artist’s peers overlook all of the great contributions many of them make while exploring new directions in Jazz. People complain that Jazz is stagnant or isn’t attracting enough young people. But, when younger artists start reflecting newer trends in music, some become offended and think that music is no longer relevant or respectful of its history.

 

 

byrdHancockMorrisonHotelGalleryCom

 

Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock

Photo: HotelGallery.com

 

 

Here is a great excerpt from the New York Times obituary on Donald Byrd. I found it very moving to read how he was inspired by John Coltrane while still in high school, and how he himself became dedicated to guiding and mentoring new artists to the art form through his work as an educator.

 

 

“His musical pursuits were paralleled by a lifelong interest in education. He taught jazz at Howard, North Carolina Central University, Rutgers, Cornell, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, and also studied law. In 1982 he received a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. He spent many years, at various institutions, teaching a curriculum that integrated math and music education.

 

In 2000 Mr. Byrd was given a Jazz Masters award by the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

In his 1998 Cornell lecture Mr. Byrd said he had been inspired by musicians who changed music, notably John Coltrane.

 

“I met him in the 11th grade in Detroit,” he said. “I skipped school one day to see Dizzy Gillespie, and that’s where I met Coltrane. Coltrane and Jimmy Heath just joined the band, and I brought my trumpet, and he was sitting at the piano downstairs waiting to join Dizzy’s band. He had his saxophone across his lap, and he looked at me and he said, ‘You want to play?’

“So he played piano, and I soloed. I never thought that six years later we would be recording together, and that we would be doing all of this stuff. The point is that you never know what happens in life.”

 

New York Times, February 11, 2013

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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